Post Study Work Options: How to Get a Work Visa in South Korea After Studies

Post Study Work Options: How to Get a Work Visa in South Korea After Studies

South Korea is located in East Asia, on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula located out from the far east of the Asian landmass. Despite its compact size, South Korea is home to 22 national parks with countless mountains. 

The country also offers miles and miles of beautiful coast and stunning beaches with the most popular and largest one being Jeju Island. South Korea also has a superb transport infrastructure which means that tranquillity is always within easy reach of urban sprawl.

In recent years, South Korea has seen global popularity due to its pop culture, music, entertainment and TV dramas and movies. The industry has been a tremendous contribution to the economy and has an estimated USD 12.3 billion boost to the economy in 2019.

South Korea’s economy has been growing steadily, making it a great time to get a job in the country. Along with the economy, the country has also seen a growing population of international students.

The Korean government is also keen on students from overseas securing jobs in the country however certain fields are easier to come by than others so it’s important to do your research before committing to settling there to find a job.

The job market can be competitive as you’ll be up against Korean nationals, but as long as you have a relevant degree from a Korean institution and a good command of the language, you may find your international background can serve as  an advantage.

The leading industry employers in the country are:

  • Samsung (semiconductors)
  • Hyundai (vehicle manufacturing)
  • LG electronics (electronics)
  • KPMG (professional services)
  • ExxonMobil (chemicals)

Although working life in Korea may be different to what you are used to, Korea’s importance as a trade partner and business hub means there is likely to be rewarding work or an internship waiting for you in Korea. 

Check your options below to stay in the country after completing your studies.

If South Korea is not for you, you can check our other blog post to see your options after completing your studies in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New ZealandEurope, Japan or Singapore!

D-10 Visa (Jobseeker Visa)

International graduates who earned an associate degree from a Korean Community College or  a bachelor’s degree or higher from a Korean University can apply for the visa to look for a job in the country or plan to start a business based on intellectual property rights or the equivalent technology. 

This is a point-based system. You should score at least 60 points and should receive at least 20 points in the basic requirement section.

This visa is valid up to 6 months. Remember to switch to another visa category before your current student visa expires.

The job you secure should be in line with your studies and should be in the approved types of work and you have not violated the Immigration Act.

You will be ineligible to apply if you have violated the Immigration Act and was fined for a total of 2 million won or more. Sample violations are you have exceeded the time allowed for students to work part time and you have previously exceeded your visa.

A jobseeker visa is also granted to students who take part in internship programs and will be valid for no more than a year.

To apply for this visa for the purpose of seeking a job, you should prepare the following documents:

  • Application Form
  • Recent Photo
  • Copy of valid passport
  • Copy of foreigner registration card
  • Plan for seeking employment
  • Diploma/Certificate of Degree
  • Proof of career (if applicable)
  • Proof of training activities in Korea (if applicable)
  • Proof of Korean Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Letter of recommendation for employment (if applicable)
  • Proof of financial ability 

*Additional documents may be required

For entrepreneurial activities based on technology, you should prepare the following documents:

  • An application form  
  • Valid passport
  • Alien Registration Card
  • A certificate of education (bachelor’s degree or higher)
  • A technology-based start-up plan
  • A photocopy of a patent/utility model registration/design registration or a certificate/receipt of application (where applicable)
  • A photocopy of a certificate proving that you have completed/participated in the Overall Assistance for Start-up Immigration System (OASIS) courses (where applicable)

*Additional documents may be required

You can apply for the change of status to the Immigration Office of the Ministry of Justice with jurisdiction over your place of residence. 

E-1 through E-7 Visa

Once you have signed a job contract, you may switch to a visa category appropriate to your line of work. To see the criteria and qualifications of each visa, check the full list on the official website.

E-1 Professor 

This visa is aimed at foreign nationals seeking to give lectures or do research in their field at above college-level educational facilities. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed in one-year intervals. In some cases, you can be allowed to stay as long as needed, with renewals available every five years.

E-2 Foreign Language Instructor 

This visa is designed for foreign nationals that wish to teach a foreign language at a company or broadcast station-owned schools, above elementary school-level educational facilities, or similar institutions. The multiple-entry visa is granted for two years and can be renewed in two-year intervals.

E-3 Researcher 

This visa is for foreign nationals that are invited by a public or private institution to conduct research in natural science or advanced technology. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed in one-year intervals. In some cases, you can be allowed to stay as long as needed, with renewals available every five years.

E-4 Technical Instructor/Technician 

Aimed at foreign nationals with expertise in natural science or high technology that are invited by a public or private organization or offer skills unavailable in Korea can. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed in one-year intervals. The single-entry visa is valid for three months and can be renewed in one-year intervals.

E-5 Professional Employment

This is a visa for architects, lawyers, physicians, accountants, and other such professionals. They must be internationally licensed and hold the Korean government’s permission to practise their field of expertise. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed in one-year intervals. The single-entry visa is valid for three months and can be renewed in one-year intervals.

E-6 Artist/Athlete 

Designed for foreign nationals that participate in musical, artistic, and literary activities. This includes for-profit modelling, pop entertainment, and sports. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed in one-year intervals.

E-7 Foreign National of Special Ability 

Foreign nationals that participate in activities designed by the Korean Ministry of Justice through a public or private organization can qualify for this visa. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one to three years and can be renewed in one or three-year intervals. The single-entry visa is valid for three months and can be renewed in one-year intervals.

To apply, check out the documents needed on the table below.

VisaDocuments
Professor (E-1), Foreign Language Instructor (E-2), Researcher (E-3), Technical Instructor / Technician (E-4), Professional (E-5)Required Documents:
① an application form (Form No. 34), passport, Alien Registration Card, fees
②an employment contract, documents demonstrating the establishment of an institution/company (submit only one or two of the business registration certificate, certified copy of register, certificate of private academy establishment, etc.)
③ a certificate of work experience (E-1), criminal records certificate (E-2), medical examination report for employment (E-2), copy of licenses (E-5, E-7), and recommendation letter for employment or documents demonstrating the necessity of the employment (E-5, E-7)
Artist / Athlete (E-6)Required Documents:
① an application form (Form No. 34), passport, Alien Registration Card, fees
②an employment contract, documents demonstrating the establishment of an institution/company (submit only one or two of the business registration certificate, certified copy of register, certificate of private academy establishment, etc.)
Foreign National of Special Ability (E-7)Required Documents:
① an application form (Form No. 34), passport, Alien Registration Card, fees
②an employment contract
③ documents demonstrating the establishment of an institution/company (submit only one or two of the business registration certificate, certified copy of register, certificate of private academy establishment, etc.)
④ a certificate of work experience
⑤ a copy of licenses
⑥ a recommendation letter for employment or documents demonstrating the necessity of the employment

After getting this type of visa, you need to obtain an F type visa to qualify for Permanent Residence in the country.

Start-Up Visa or Self-Employment Visa

South Korea allows for a self-employment visa that encourages foreign nationals to start their business in Korea.

As with traditional employment visas, the type of visa you will apply for is dependent on your job industry.

This visa is for a single-entry and valid for only three months. After that, it can be extended in one-year intervals.

D-8-4 Visa

Technology and business start-up visa is designed to accommodate promising ventures in the country. You need to gain a certain amount of qualifying points to qualify. There are 340 points in total and you need to obtain 80 points.

D-10-2 Visa

Business start-up visa will let foreign nationals to sort out all the documents and attend Overall Assistance of Start-up Immigration System (OASIS) training to prepare for the entrepreneurship path.

D-8-1 Visa

Investment visa is for those who can invest a large sum of money into their business in order to get the business started.

F-2-7 Visa  (Long term Residence Based on a Points System)

International graduates with student or jobseeker visas who have earned a master’s degree from a Korean university and have a confirmed job contract with a Korean company can apply for a residence visa.

This visa category is designed to attract a “superior pool of foreigners” who can stay in South Korea depending on the points earned during the evaluation, with freedom to choose and change jobs and workplaces without being tied to their employers.

You should be able to score 80 points out of the full points of 120.

You will be evaluated based on your age, level of education, Korean language ability and annual Income. Extra points will be awarded annual tax payment record, study experience in Korea, volunteer activities, overseas professional work experience and being part of the Korean Immigration Integration Program. Meanwhile, your points will be deducted if you have violated the Immigration Act.

To apply, you should prepare the following documents:

  • An application form (Form No. 34)
  • Valid Passport
  • Alien Registration Card
  • A certificate of a degree or diploma (for high school graduates only)
  • Documents proving your Korean language ability
  • Documents proving your income (receipt for earned income tax withholding, etc.)
  • An employment contract
  • Documents proving your family relations (spouse/child)
  • A certificate of completion for the Korea Immigration and Integration Program, documents proving income tax payment, volunteer activities records, certificate of work experience and other documents required in the recognition of your extra points stated in the above table (where applicable)

*Additional documents may be required

Having this type of visa will lead to permanent residency in the country.

The F-2-99 Visa (Long-term Residence Visa)

If you do not meet the requirements needed to get the F-2-7 visa, see if you can qualify for the F-2-99. This visa is not as demanding when it comes to criteria as there is no point-based evaluation system. The main requirement is the length of your stay in the country.

  • Holders of E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, and E-7 visas need to continuously stay in Korea for five or more years.

For your stay to qualify as continuous, you cannot leave the country for more than one month. 

Other conditions you need to meet are:

  • You need to be of good character (no criminal record, abiding by the local laws, having sufficient income, etc).
  • You need to be an adult (over 18 years of age).
  • Your household savings (in property or money) need to be worth over 30 million KRW.
  • Your previous year’s income has to be higher than the country’s Gross National Income per capita.
  • You need to have completed the level 2 KIIP.

*Additional documents may be required

This visa is valid for 1 to 3 years.

F-5 Visa (Permanent Residence)

Before you can apply for full permanent residence, you need to get yourself another one of the F-type long-term residency visas. 

This visa will allow you the freedom to change jobs and create your own business ventures without many restrictions as these visas are not dependent on a contract.

You need to meet one of the following conditions to qualify.

  • Investing nearly 600 million KRW (500,000 USD) or more in a Korean business and hiring five or more locals.
  • Obtaining a degree in South Korea. That can be a bachelor’s degree in Science or Engineering or any type of master’s degree. Additionally, you have to be living here for three years while earning sufficient annual income (higher than the country’s per capita gross national income).
  • Obtaining a doctorate degree in South Korea and getting a job in the field of high technologies.
  • Running a business under a D-8-4 start-up visa in Korea for at least three years, making at least 300 million KRW (256,100 USD) in total, and hiring at least two Korean employees for no less than six months.
  • Getting recognized by the Ministry of Justice for your exceptional talent in Science, Education, Culture and Arts, Sports, or Management.

The required documents depend on what type of visa you had before but generally you will need to provide the following documents.

  • Valid passport
  • Alien Registration Card
  • Application form;
  • Proof of your income or savings (your employment contract, pay slip, bank statement etc)
  • Your rental contract
  • Proof of clear criminal record
  • Language Proficiency (level 5)

*Additional documents may be required

Naturalised Citizenship

In order to qualify for the general naturalisation process, you must have lived in South Korea for more than five years consecutively. This means that you have to have a Korean address on file, an Alien Registration Card and the ability to work in South Korea.

You must be of good conduct and you must have the same basic knowledge as a South Korean national. This knowledge includes an understanding of the Korean language, customs and culture.

To apply, you need to submit the following documents.

  • An application form (this form is presented in Korean, not English)
  • Recent photo
  • Your Alien Registration Card
  • A written statement for citizenship application
  • A statement of identity
  • A copy of your statement of identity (this one with a color photo attached)
  • A copy of foreign family registration or citizenship papers (if applying for simple or special naturalization)
  • A document outlining any dependents you may have (including children or parents)
  • Proof of financial stability

*Additional documents may be required

So, are you ready to move to South Korea?? Comment below.

IaM can help with your visa application to the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

Charlie

 

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