This time I decided to do a blogpost about FAQs that I get a lot about living in Korea. Let’s try to keep it short and let’s get started! This time it’s all about working here.
1. How do I get a job in Korea?
First of all – it depends on your visa status, which kind of work you’re allowed to do. With a working holiday (H1) visa you can work part time up to 25 hours a week. You can have several jobs at once, but your hours are not allowed to be over the limit. Furthermore you can’t teach (this falls under an educational visa) – so the jobs are quite limited. Most people I know with this visa type work as a bartender or waiter/waitress in an international bar (for some of these jobs you need basic korean language skills, too to understand customers’ orders). I got a job as a translator though and work in an office.
Info: When I came here I already graduated with my Bachelor and Master of Arts and worked full-time already for a year prior. So it also depends on your resume, which kind of work you’d fit into.
To be an English teacher here legally you have to be a native speaker as well. I heard that there are foreigners though teaching languages privately.
2. Where to look for jobs?
I found my job offer on Craigslist – yes, it has also a lot of scatchy job offers, especially in the red-light district direction (yes, no joke!). They are often titled as “karaoke girls”, “waitress at a talking bar” or straight up saying they’re looking for a webcam girl. Not to mention that prostitution is illegal in Korea and you can get deported by doing these kind of jobs. So watch out for that and use your common sense! 🙂
There are also Facebook groups for foreigners in Korea where they post job offers from time to time.
3. How do I apply?
I applied classically with a cover letter and resume in English. Sent it to them via email and waited until I got a response with an invitation for a job interview. I also watched Youtube videos before going to the job interview, just to get prepared for questions they might ask. The job interview was completely in English. I went there, nailed the interview and got the job offer the next day!
4. Do I need a contract?
Of course you’ll get a contract if you’re working legally. If they pay you cash or don’t give you a contract it’s basically black work. To be honest I know a lot of people without a contract here and they’re doing fine, but if you want to make sure it’s all legal – look for a job that gives you a proper contract.
5. Working full-time?
It’s a different story if you work full-time. The company has to sponsor your visa in case you want to live and stay in Korea and this kind of visa-sponsorship is very expensive. So of course the company has to have a lot of budget in the first place to hire someone for that money. Also they’re responsible for you if you start working there. During the visa application process, the company has to give valid reasons to the government why they chose you (a foreigner) over a korean person, who might has the same skills. So long story short: you must bring unique skills/working experience that the company is looking for, so they’re able to hire you as a foreign person. If you loose your job or quit, your visa gets invalid too.
In Korea you need to have a university degree to work full-time (as a foreigner), at least a bachelor degree. You won’t get a job without it – without any discussion. Unless (!) you’re working in the entertainment field e.g. as a model, singer or actor/actress or you’re a freelancer.
6. What are my options if I want to stay in Korea long-term?
If you want to stay long-term in Korea, I guess the visa that works the best is a marriage visa. But even if you marry, you have to update your visa every 1-2 years (just in case you get a divorce in between that time period – you never know, right?).
7. Do I need a bank account?
At some point of course you need a bank account if you want to get properly paid. But how to get that? There are many banks, but I chose “KEB Hana” because it has a good reputation when it comes to foreign-friendliness. I went to a branch in Hongdae, which I heard about that their staff can speak English. You have to bring your passport, alien registration card (if you don’t have it yet, check out my blog post here) and you need a korean phone number.
Take care about these things first or otherwise they just send you away and you wasted your time going to the bank in the first place.
During the process you have to sign tons of papers and give them all your data. After 20 minutes I immediately got my bank account book and my bank card! Super fast and convenient! It didn’t cost me anything by the way.
If you want the bank app, you also need to go there and get it verified. You can’t download it and login with your data, you need a different login for that.
If you have any other questions that weren’t mentioned in this blog post, feel free to check out my Q&As on Youtube!
My next FAQ is going to be about dating in Korea! If you have any questions regarding that topic, you can leave it in the comment section and I’ll answer it in my next blogpost 🙂