Working in Seoul



The globe’s major economies may be experiencing recession, but Korea remains steadfast and continues to attract expats the world over.

General Outlook

Seoul is considered the heart and money-maker city of the country. Home to expatriates of different nationalities, Seoul offers a wide variety of employment opportunities for teaching English to becoming one of the backbones of their manufacturing and export industries. Kia Motors, Hyundai and Samsung are only some of the well-known Korean products exported around the world and expatriates comprise a large portion of workers who make these brands famous.

Work Permit & Other Requirements

A passport is required of anyone who wants to work in Seoul and, like many other countries, a working visa. One may not, however, apply for this visa unless he or she has secured an employer who is also usually the one who initiates the visa application. Because this transaction is held between the Korean government and employer, any change or addition of jobs per expat must be filed at the immigration office. The process includes submission of the requirements, passing an examination and approval of the application which is to be obtained from in the immigration office and submitted with a passport, foreign registration card and a payment of KRW 60,000. 

Business Etiquette

Koreans are hard-working people, and the ultimate proof is the way their economy has risen from the slums of the Korean War to where it is right now. As such, they also expect the same work enthusiasm from expatriates. Moreover, it is best to be acquainted with the country's protocols with regards to greeting other people. Instead of a handshake, people bow to each other as a sign of respect. However, South Koreans have become accustomed to the traditions of other countries that most of them will shake the hand of an expatriate following a bow. Still, proper protocol is to be observed, especially when one is of a higher position, in which case, this higher-ranking person must initiate the handshake and not the other way around. Furthermore, it may be nice to know that Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labor strive to create equality in all working environments. This does not only work for women and the disabled, but also for all expatriate workers. 

Working Hours

Koreans, especially those living in Seoul, make room for more than 2,300 hours in a year for work. As an expat, one may have to buckle down to work longer than the amount of time one may be used to working in his home country. 


The current average salary is a 2,000,000.00 - 3,650,000.00 Korean won; however, the government has vowed a 5.1% increase effective 2011. This shoots the minimum hourly wage to 4,320 Korean won or $3.53 USD. While the Korean economy is not at its prime right now, it is still considered strong as to remain solid and standing amidst the global economic recession. The good news is there is still always room for expatriates who are striving to establish a stable financial life in the bustling and progressive city of Seoul.



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Working in South Korea

Expat Services in Seoul