Question from a reader: fly to Korea to find a job?

:

A reader we’ll call ‘I’ writes in:

I have questions to ask you. I just completed a Celta and an internship in South Africa. I am tempted to get on a flight to Seoul and start looking for a job when I get there. I have a degree and all my stuff in order. the only issue I have is my Background check is 7 month old and that is causing issues with recruiter. Will I be able to get a gig pretty fast when I get there? Is this this too much of a risk? Thanks for your help.

A few questions to look at individually.

I just completed a Celta and an internship in South Africa. I am tempted to get on a flight to Seoul and start looking for a job when I get there. I have a degree and all my stuff in order.

A reader we’ll call ‘I’ writes in:

I have questions to ask you. I just completed a Celta and an internship in South Africa. I am tempted to get on a flight to Seoul and start looking for a job when I get there. I have a degree and all my stuff in order. the only issue I have is my Background check is 7 month old and that is causing issues with recruiter. Will I be able to get a gig pretty fast when I get there? Is this this too much of a risk? Thanks for your help.

A few questions to look at individually.

I just completed a Celta and an internship in South Africa. I am tempted to get on a flight to Seoul and start looking for a job when I get there. I have a degree and all my stuff in order.

Congrats on earning the CELTA – in many cases it will definitely be a factor in your favor. Thanks to the current economic conditions, however, even experienced teachers in Korea with all their paperwork in order are having difficulty finding the sort of jobs they’re qualified for. Although fewer schools are paying for your flight over to Korea, most are still reimbursing the plane ticket as part of your contractual agreement with them. Since some schools only do that if you fly in specifically to work for them, ask about getting your plane ticket reimbursed before signing a contract.

Bear in mind that if you come to Korea without a job / visa in your passport, your status as ‘tourist’ means you can’t legally start working until the working visa is taken care of. That means a visa run to Japan – fly to Fukuoka, Japan, visit the Korean embassy there, pick up your visa, and fly back to Korea with the new shiny addendum to your passport. One point I feel obligated to make: If the school or recruiter insists you can work on a tourist visa, walk away. It’s illegal and can cause far more problems than you want.

the only issue I have is my Background check is 7 month old and that is causing issues with recruiter.

At some point earlier this year, Immigration began getting a lot pickier with documents submitted as part of your visa application. The anecdotal evidence, backed up by a couple recruiters, is that your background check and transcript need to be less than 90 days old. That means you’ll either to get new ones when you change jobs unless you’re able to transfer from job 1 to job 2 (allowed if there are less than 3 months left on your contract with job 1 – it’s a lot simpler that way). So much for the advice of ‘get more than one’. Get a new background check before you leave your home country – and learn the process for procuring one while out-of-country. You shouldn’t need a background check if you haven’t left Korea – but Immigration can be weird sometimes.

Will I be able to get a gig pretty fast when I get there? Is this this too much of a risk?

Between the growing fear of swine flu, schools closing temporarily for health reasons, and the economy, Korea can no longer easily be called the great destination it once was. With that said, virtually every country is facing the same challenges as Korea. Your reason for coming to Korea definitely shouldn’t be ‘because it’s safer / less risky than staying in my home country’. Finding a gig is a bit easier since you can combine in-face interviews with the online environment you’d also have elsewhere in the world.

You’ll need a place to stay, though – hotels can get expensive, and apartments aren’t usually available for short-term use. If I were in your shoes I’d hit up the local craigslist and see if another teacher has an extra room you can use for a week or three.

On a philosophical level, living in a foreign country is a risk – but thankfully it can managed for the most part. If you’re the kind that tends to cross the street only at the crosswalk when the green man is out, you may want to ask yourself how much uncertainty you can handle.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2009



5 thoughts on “Question from a reader: fly to Korea to find a job?”

  1. teaching

    I would suggest looking elsewhere, not that there is not work here as there are plenty of jobs but with the exchange rate it is almost not worth it. When I first arrived here 2 million WON was worth $2500 Canadian (back in 2002). Now it is less than $2000. With the cost of living going through the roof here (yogurt that used to cost 800 for 4 is now 2300…) and wages staying the same, it is hard to save here like you once could. So if you think you are going to come here, get a hakwon job, make decent money and save, no way-not unless you are going to live like a hermit. If you can get more than one job you would be okay but of course that is illegal in Korea. In Japan you can hace multiple jobs as you own your visa there but here no. So plan on making less than 2g a month. If you are happy with that, welcome to Korea. As for me, I live here and have a F visa which allows me to work as many jobs I would like but you would be coming first on a tourist visa and then "hopefully" an e visa. Korea is not what it once was. Really, I would look elsewhere-maybe Taiwan or even China. They are paying more now and things are much less there. Just a word to the wise. Good luck.

    Reply
      • You need to get married to a

        You need to get married to a Korean national or be a kyopo(Korean-American) or live here a numbers of years at the same job; these are the only ways to gain F visa status.

        Reply
  2.  thats what i did i’d

     thats what i did i’d recommend it anyday over talking over the telephone and making a choice. come here and get a job you can see for yourself and negotiate a better situation, deal/contract. some schools will possibly reimburse you too for your ticket. i was. 

    i did the same thing with taiwan too. its the better way.

    you’ll need a background check though thsts less than six months…i just went through this and spent some time down at immigration. I had a backgr check 10 months old but they would nt accept it..

    i’d say within a month you can get work easy enough.

    you can stay in hostels for fairly cheap 15$ usd and even much cheaper in the jimjiban 6$ or so if you can dig that until you find work.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to wakold Cancel reply