Prepare Your Visa Documents Before You Look for Work

Your best bet is to get all your documents together before you start searching for a job. There are several reasons for this, the first reason being you want to be working to find the right job that meets your qualifications and not let the first job you see essentially ‘work you’ to find the visa documents. Recruiters are often rushed to fill positions and earn their commission, so once you find a job even remotely interesting they will provide you with the document information and instruct you to rush it to them immediately. In their attempt to help you get to Asia they will forget to tell you (and quite possibly you will forget to ask) the minor details of the position that could have a major effect on your specifications. I made this mistake for my first ESL job and ended up in a rather sticky situation, but if you plan before the job you will feel more confident and ready to choose the job you want - not the other way around.

The Importance of Document Preparation

It is important you prepare all the documents before taking or applying for a job. Moreover, it is important to bring to Korea more documents then is actually required of you to obtain your visa. In case of any possible job changes (as in my case) or emergencies you always want to have double what is asked for. This will save you from a great amount of stress later. When you change jobs it will obligatory for you to provide new documents for a new visa. Moreover even if you do land a great job the first year, visa laws do change. If you plan for another year in Korea it is best to be totally prepared. Having multiple copies documents will help prepare you for anything in the way. You will never have to worry about minor rule changes in government or be glued to your current job.

Your Job Owns Your Work Visa

You might be thinking, “Well if I already have a visa can’t I just change jobs?” The answer to that very good question is no. The reason being is that ESL teachers in Korea are offered what is called an E-2 Visa that is connected through your place of employment. What does that mean? It means that when your employment ends, then so does your visa. The school owns and manages your visa, so when you discontinue your work at a particular job your visa will also be discontinued.

The Turnover in Korea

While the exact statistic of how many people quit their initial jobs in Korea varies depending on which publication you read, it does happen and it happens often. I’m not trying to say most of the jobs in Korea are awful, but there are plenty of awful jobs out there. Your goal is to find the gem in the rough that matches you best. And I won’t lie; it may take a job change or two to find that gem. That being said, you also shouldn’t be too picky, as some people just quit their jobs for small reasons. For example, they can’t adapt to Korean work style because their western minds interpret too many projects as unreasonable. There are plenty of great jobs out there and if your first ESL job isn’t what you expected then you can always quit and find a better one.

Changing Jobs

Whoever says you can’t break a contract and get a new job is lying. Don’t let the job you are quitting in Korea tell you it is impossible to change either because they will tell you this! Usually they give you false information as a last attempt to keep you or as an attempt to try and get you to leave Korea. Because not all Korea ESL jobs are gems, you may need to change jobs after you get there. Changing jobs isn’t impossible if you know exactly what to do. If you prepare your extra E-2 visa papers and bring them to Korea with you, then you can reapply for a different visa.