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Attorney(KOREA, U.S.A., IL.)   LEE, JAE WOOK'S OFFICE
Attorney LEE, JAE WOOK'S OFFICE   [ LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN KOREA, U.S.A., ILLINOIS ]
[개인과 기업을 위한 모든 법률문제를 서비스합니다.]
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↓  What are the visa options for foreigners who want to work in Korea in nonexecutive positions which are not teaching/ESL positions?

Questions and Answers
What are the visa options for foreigners who want to work in Korea in nonexecutive
positions which are not teaching/ESL positions? (ex: E7, D8, E9,
D9…)
To answer the specific visas mentioned in the question:
 E-7: This is for foreign employees contracted with Korean companies to provide in-house
services in Korea. It's the visa best-matched to most entry-level foreigners looking for a whitecollar
job in Korea.
 D-8: This visa requires a large investment by a foreigner in Korea.
 E-9: This is the visa under which laborers from certain countries come to Korea to work in
factories in Korea at low wages.
D-9: Foreigners who have a proven record of having achieved a certain degree of Korean
exports in a trading business can be eligible for this visa.
Other visas which a foreigner might consider:
 D-7: A foreigner who has worked for a foreign company or public agency overseas may be
dispatched to Korea to work in the Korea branch or subsidiary of their employer and such
person would be eligible for this visa.
 E-1: Persons with an academic background may obtain a professorship and be sponsored by
their university with the E-1 visa.
 E-3: Foreign researchers at Korean research institutions (does not include professors) generally
work under the E-3 visa.
 E-5: Any number of foreign professionals, such as attorneys, doctors and accountants, would
generally work in Korea under this visa.
What can you tell me about an E-7 visa? What are some of the
requirements for this visa?
The key point of this visa is that it's for foreigners working in positions in Korean companies which the
Korean companies have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Korea Ministry of Justice cannot be
filled suitably by Koreans. (This is the reason most former ESL teachers who have gone from the ESL
visa (E-2) to a E-7 visa are still working in language-related tasks.)


"Answers to Top Questions About Business Visas in Korea" (ebriefing)
What is a D-4 visa for? What kinds of interns get this visa? Is it only at
investment companies?
The D-4 visa has a very specific purpose. It's for the foreign local employees of the overseas branches
and subsidiaries of Korean companies who wish to bring the foreign workers to Korea for on-the-job
training. It is not a visa that can be easily issued under the sponsorship of a Korean company or
otherwise to just any foreign intern.
Can you briefly explain what the E-9 visa is for? Who can apply for this visa
and what are the requirements to qualify for this visa?
This visa is for foreign laborers (particularly those from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, the Philippines,
Indonesia and a few other countries) willing to work long hour in dangerous and dirty conditions for
very low wages (currently about W900,000/month is average, or so I've heard). You don't want this
visa.

Are these visas country-dependent? For example, are they available only to
citizens of certain countries and not to citizens of other countries? (Does
this include African countries?)
As I understand, the E-9 and H-2 visas are available only to persons from countries which have signed
agreements with Korea for these visas. The other visas depend on finding a company or organization
willing to sponsor, and which can also persuade the Department of Justice that they need the specific
foreign employee and will properly take responsibility for that person.
Also, as Korean companies now have to pay into four kinds of national insurance/workers
compensation plans even for foreign workers, this can also be a significant burden, both in terms of
costs and paperwork hassle.
How long does it take a candidate in Africa to have their visa processed?
What are some of the best places to have your visa processed quickly and
efficiently?
I don't know, but the official at InvestKorea did say that the visa issuance isn't a country-based thing.
No doubt, citizens of certain countries will have an easier time of it, but there aren't specific
regulations that would affect this.


"Answers to Top Questions About Business Visas in Korea" (ebriefing)
If a company states that an individual they are hiring must get their own
visa, what recommendations would you make to the individual? How can
they get a visa without sponsorship? What visas would you recommend for
people coming to do business in Korea, especially if they want to invest but
are below the $200,000 dollar mark?
Certain visas are available without a company sponsorship, don't require a ridiculously high investment
or export record and allow the foreigner to work in Korea. They include the following.
 D-10: Foreign graduates of Korean universities may be awarded this visa for 6-12 months,
which allows them to stay in the country to look for work. In fact, it's called a "Get a Job" visa.
This visa does not allow the individual to work though.
 F-2: Those who are able to jump through lots of hoops and pass the points system may be
awarded an F-2 residents visa. F-2 visa-holders may work in Korea.
 F-6: Foreigners married to a Korean get this visa and they can work too.
 F-5: This is the visa for permanent residents who have fulfilled various long-term residence and
other conditions, and these persons can work, also.
 G-1: This catch-all visa only requires the foreigner to convince the Ministry of Justice to give it
to them. It appears to be intended for special situations.
 H-2: This visa covers a very wide range of work roles and based on this document which I
downloaded from the Ministry of Government Legislation's website, it appears to be similar to
the E-9 visa in that it helps Korean manufactures get low cost manpower. Online articles
indicate that these visa-holders are only from a few countries which have signed certain
agreements with Korea.
What are the process and minimum requirements for a Korean company to
sponsor a foreign employee? What conditions must the foreign employee
meet in order to get a work visa? Can an individual ever sponsor the visa of
another foreigner without being family? Is there a way to work legally as an
intern in Korea without having one’s visa sponsored by the interning
company? Are there any loopholes that would legally allow someone to
work in Korea without having a business visa?
There don't appear to be formal minimum requirements for a sponsor, but the company has to find a
way to persuade the Ministry of Justice that the visa is warranted and that the company will take full
responsibility for the employee. Apparently the representative of the company must take personal
liability for the foreign employee.


"Answers to Top Questions About Business Visas in Korea" (ebriefing)
I asked if I, as a foreigner with a non-corporation company in Korea, would be able to sponsor a foreign
employee. The official said that, in theory, it's permitted, but that it would be very hard to persuade
the Ministry of Justice to award one in this case. So basically, the visa sponsorship process is just a
matter of persuading the government that it's necessary but there aren't formal conditions; in some
cases it's easier than in others.
The only way to work legally in Korea without a sponsored work visa is to get one of the non-companysponsored
visas mentioned above.
Can you explain about the visa points system?
I found this PDF online which explains it.
What can a business visa applicant do to speed up the visa process? What
professional support services are available/helpful for getting through the
visa process?
The fastest way to get through is to prepare the paperwork and submit it properly. The official told me
that Korea doesn't have attorneys specializing in immigration work; I guess there's just not that much
work to warrant it and the Korean system appears to be a little more approachable than the US
immigration, which is a black box. Most visa information is available at Hi Korea. Foreigners should also
be able to get free help from offices like the Seoul Global Center (which I believe has a free hotline for
questions).
I asked if there was a document which explains all this in one place (including a comprehensive list) and
in English and the official said there isn't. He did give me a Korean-language print-out listing all the
visas and their summaries which he said don’t exist in English, and much of the information provided in
this article is based on that document, in addition to my discussions with the official.
If your visa application is rejected, can you apply for another visa type? If
your visa is rejected for not having the correct documentation, can you
reapply or is there a specific waiting period?
I didn't specifically ask these questions, but based on what I learned, I would say that the Korean
system is quite flexible, with discretion for the government officials, and doesn't automatically lock
people out for set periods of time. However, if one is rejected once and then applies again without
improving the application, the officials will notice the previous record and are unlikely to award the
visa the second time, either.



"Answers to Top Questions About Business Visas in Korea" (ebriefing)
Recommendationsfor Entry-Level Job Seekers
Thus, in terms of recommendations for a foreign entry-level job-seeker in Korea who doesn't have the
option of ESL teaching, or other short-cuts (such as marrying a Korean), here are what I've come up
with as options.
 D-2 (Foreign Student) - I've learned that Korean universities help their students (including
foreign students) get internships and jobs, and that a D-10 visa (which would be awarded after
graduation) would give the graduate up to a year to find a position.
 D-7 (Korea Dispatched Employee) - Persons working for a company or organization with
operations in Korea could get transferred to Korea after a time.
 B-2 (Tourist) - Come to Korea and look for a job through intense networking and research... and
hope for the best.
Other than these, there's the E-7 visa which can, in theory, be obtained from abroad. But without
coming to Korea first, it'll be hard to find a job and compete in the application process with others who
are already in-country. In addition, the company still has to persuade the Korean Ministry of Justice
that the prospective candidate brings skills/expertise that they can't find from the tens of thousands of
Korean graduates who also can't currently find a job, and it's really not reasonable to ask a Korean
company to make this case to the Department of Justice for an entry-level job applicant whom they
haven't met before.




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