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Work Permits and Visas for Overseas Workers in Korea

For global mobility professionals assigning employees to Korea, it is essential to know the rules for work permits.  As a developed country, South Korea has immigration rules that are similar to the US and Australia, where they closely evaluate the need and qualifications of all foreign workers.

Immigration and Work Visa Requirements in South Korea

The work visa requirements in South Korea are fairly strict, and the most common work visa for a long-term assignment is the E7.   There are other options for short term assignments or areas of specialization, but the E7 is probably the one that most of your employees will be using.

The employee must have a contract with a company registered in Korea (either domestic or foreign), and there are both educational and work experience requirements.  In addition, there are restrictions on the number and percentage of foreign workers allowed in a single company.

The E7 is good for up to 3 years, and for a more complete review of visa types, documents and requirements you can take a look at this overview. When you see the multiple steps involved, it becomes obvious why so many companies use a GEO service to take care of immigration compliance using local experts and resources.

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South Korea Work Visa Processing Time

The time to process a work visa in Korea is from 2-4 weeks, although if you do not have a local incorporated entity you have to factor in the time it takes to set that up.  In some cases, it may not be worth the expense and effort for simple marketing activity or short term projects.

The alternative is to use the Shield GEO local employer of record to sponsor all work visas for your employees.  We can get work visas for your staff in the shortest time possible, which means quick deployment and the ability to begin work activity right away.

South Korea Work Visa Cost

The cost of a work visa in Korea is not cheap, with fees totaling over USD$4000.  Once again, this assumes that you already have a branch in Korea, and if you are just exploring the market or want to deploy staff efficiently then the GEO solution is the best option.

In addition to meeting immigration requirements, Shield GEO handles all aspects of payroll and taxation for your employees in a complete, end to end employment service.  Whether you are assigning many employees or only one, this makes your job much simpler and can mean both time and cost savings for your company.

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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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