The scope of employment opportunities open to foreign nationals in Korea is relatively broad, but the type of activity and period of stay may be limited depending on the type of visa issued.
There are two types of permission for sojourn: one allows you to have a job while the other does not.
Visas which permit employment in Korea
Work visas include: Temporary Employment (C-4), Specialized Professions (E-1~7), Training Employment (E-8), Non-professional Employment (E-9), Labor Abroad (E-10), Working Holiday (H-1), Residency (F-2), Overseas Koreans (F-4), Permanent Residency (F-5).
Ministry of Employment and Labor
Human Resources Development Service
Immigration Contact Center
Temporary employment (C-4)
Sojourn period of not longer than 90 days.Temporary activities relating to entertainment, ad, fashion model, lecture, research, technology coaching.
Specialized professions (E-1~E-7)
Specialized professions, as stipulated by the Immigration Office, are as follows:
- Professor (E-1) : Sojourn period of not longer than 2 years
- Foreign Language Teaching (E-2) : Sojourn period of not longer than a year
- Research (E-3) : Sojourn period of not longer than 2 years
- Profession (E-5) : Sojourn period of not longer than 2 years
- Arts/Entertainment (E-6) : Sojourn period of not longer than 6 moths
- Specially Designated Activities (E-7) : Sojourn period of not longer than 2 years
Training Employment (E-8)
Foreign nationals can apply for an E-8 visa after successfully completing a year of training and proper education. Once the training is complete, the trainee (D-3 holder) may apply to have his/her visa changed to an E-8 visa and become eligible for 2 years of employment in Korea.
The spouse of a person who has obtained the status of sojourn or refugee may work freely in Korea.
Overseas Koreans (F-4)
This status is granted to one who used to have Korean nationality, but now has a foreign nationality, or to one whose parent or grandparent used to have Korean nationality, but who now has a foreign nationality. The holder is allowed to work, except for simple labor or speculation, for up to 2 years in Korea.
Permanent Residency (F-5)
Those with permanent residency status will not be restricted in their scope of employment activity in South Korea.
Non-professional Employment (E-9)
.Holders of this visa should sign an employment contract, undergo employment education prior to commencement of employment, and subscribe to an insurance covering airfare for return home and work-related injury. Holders of this visa may work in Korea for up to 3 years. As for re-employment, holders may be re-employed once (up to 2 years) under the new reemployment system. If the current employer applies for the re-employment of such a person during a relevant period (i.e. 30 days through 90 days before the expiry of the approved period of stay), the person may continue to work without leaving the country.
Working Visitor (H-2)
Foreign nationals looking for employment opportunities in Korea with an H-2 visa must complete an education/training course at institution designated by the Ministry of Labor. After notifying the Immigration Office of their status as an employment seeker, they can then contact the employment support center. H-2 visa holders can only work at places with a special employment possibility certified designation given by the Minister of the Ministry of Labor. Furthermore, upon finding employment, an H-2 holder must notify the Immigration Office of this change within 14 days of commencing said employment.
Holders of this visa are allowed to engage in part-time work that does not go beyond the primary purpose of the visa (study).
Visiting or joining family (F-1)
Holders of this visa may work by obtaining approval for an activity that goes beyond the status of sojourn if working is recognized as necessary to raise a child born between Korean parents or to support Korean parents or family or to earn a living for oneself or family.