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.
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).
Temporary Employment (C-4)
Sojourn period of no longer than 90 days.Temporary activities relating to entertainment, advertisement, fashion model, lecture, research, technology coaching.
Specialized Professions (E-1~7)
Specialized professions, as stipulated by the Immigration Office, are as follows:
- Professor (E-1) : Sojourn period of no longer than 2 years
- Foreign Language Teaching (E-2) : Sojourn period of no longer than a year
- Research (E-3) : Sojourn period of no longer than 2 years
- Profession (E-5) : Sojourn period of no longer than 2 years
- Arts/Entertainment (E-6) : Sojourn period of no longer than 6 months
- Specially Designated Activities (E-7) : Sojourn period of no 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.
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.
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, 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.