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13 Jobs In Korea For Foreigners [Definitive Guide]

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Korea has such a fascinating culture and many people around the world want to experience it. 

If you’re interested in spending a few years living in Korea, you may be wondering what type of jobs there are for foreigners.

One of the top jobs that are in demand for foreigners in Korea is teaching English. However, if teaching isn’t where your skills lay, there are many other job opportunities for foreigners in this nation. 

Some other jobs that are common among foreigners in Korea are IT, health care services, manufacturing, and more. 

Are you interested to learn more about what type of jobs foreigners can get in Korea? You’ve come to the right page. 

Today, we’re going to discuss some of the top jobs in Korea for foreigners.

Keep reading to learn more.

Can Foreigners Get Jobs In Korea?

Every year, the number of foreigners moving to Korea increases. In order for these people to enjoy living in Korea, they will need to have a job to pay for expenses. 

Foreigners can get a job in Korea, but they will need to be prepared with a few things before you start applying. 

One thing that every foreigner should consider is applying for an F-visa. This is necessary to have because the only job available to foreigners without one is teaching English. 

You may only work in Korea without an F-visa if you’re being sponsored by a company. 

While the F-visa is the best option for foreigners looking to get a career in Korea, it’s not as easy as one would think. 

The F-visa is only available to certain people. In order to qualify for one, you must either be married to someone from Korea or have many years of experience and expertise in a particular field. 

Is It Possible To Work In Korea Without An F-Visa?

If you’re not able to apply for an F-visa, you’re not completely out of luck. Many people dream of starting a life in a different country and if Korea is your dream, you can make it possible. However, it will take a lot of work. One of the most common ways to work in Korea without an F-visa is to attend and graduate from a Korean university. 

As long as you have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from a Korean university, you will have a better chance of landing a job in Korea. 

This also gives you an opportunity to become more familiar with Korean culture first-hand before applying to work in the country.

For those people who aren’t able to attend a Korean university, there is one more option that could work for you. 

Take a look at different companies and organizations in your home country that have international branches with locations in Korea. 

Become familiar with these jobs and apply to these companies to get more experience in the meantime.

Once you are in the door, make sure you keep your notifications on for when job opportunities in Korea come up.

If you already have experience in the field, applying for a visa will be less complicated.

13 Most Popular Jobs In Korea For Foreigners

It’s more than possible for a foreigner to obtain a job in Korea. However, it’s not always easy finding one. 

To begin with, the foreigner must be very experienced in their field to even be considered for the job position. 

That being said, Korea does welcome foreigners who know their field and bring value to the workplace. 

Let’s take a look at some of the top jobs that foreigners can get in Korea.

1. English Teacher

The most common job that foreigners get in Korea is teaching English. If you have experience teaching English and want to travel abroad to Korea, you’re in luck. 

There is a high demand for English teachers in the nation, and it’s one of the best countries to teach ESL (English as a second language).

In order to teach ESL in Korea, you will need to apply for an E-2 visa, which can be easier to obtain than an F-visa

However, in order to be approved for an E-2 visa, there are a few requirements that you will need to provide proof of.

  • A bachelor’s degree or diploma from an accredited institution. 
  • Show proof of a clean criminal record
  • Be a citizen from a native English-speaking country (such as the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Ireland, or South Africa)
  • Meet health requirements and pass a drug test

It is also possible to get a job teaching English in Korea if you aren’t from an English-speaking country, but have a teacher’s license in English. 

Always be prepared for the paperwork when applying for a job teaching ESL in Korea. You will need to provide plenty of information, including copies of your diploma and passport.

Most foreigners who teach ESL in Korea do so through the EPIK program (English Program in Korea). 

Foreigners can apply directly to EPIK to get placement teaching in a Korean public school.  

2. English Content Development

If a foreigner isn’t interested in teaching, they may put their English skills to good use in the country through content development. 

English pop culture has a big influence in Korea, especially among the younger generation. 

On top of that, Korea also hosts many international tourists from English-speaking countries.

There are many job positions opening up in the media for native English speakers. This provides more job opportunities for foreigners that are interested in living in Korea. 

While this sounds like a simple job description, there is a lot that an English content developer can do to stay busy through the work week. 

On top of pop culture content, there is also demand for educational content in English.

3. English Editor

English is a second language for many people in Korea, especially younger people. 

The nation wants to present a very good image of itself to other countries around the globe, especially English-speaking countries. 

That is why there is currently a larger demand for editors in English

If you have ever traveled to Korea, you may have noticed that there is plenty of English-based media, such as magazines and TV shows. 

In order to make sure this media is up to par, native English editors are needed.

4. Barista

Getting a job as a barista in Korea requires you to learn Korean. Most customers will be speaking Korean, and if you can’t it will be very difficult to communicate.

However, there are many foreigners in Korea that are actually baristas. It’s mostly in foreign areas like Itaewon and Gangnam. 

These cafés are packed with foreigners and sometimes there are even job postings on the wall, this makes it easy to get a job as a barista.

Keep in mind that it does require you to speak fluent Korean. Working as a barista in South Korea can be very fun, especially when you have a lot of foreign customers.

So make sure you’re fluent in Korean and are a bit outgoing when applying for this job.

5. Tour Guide

Foreigners that have lived a long time in South Korea can easily be tour guides. You probably know all the cool places in your area and can show them around.

You do have to learn a bit about the Korean history of these buildings, but once you’ve mastered that it can be very lucrative.

Tour guides in Korea make anywhere from $50,000 up to $75,000 a year. And for foreigners, this is slightly above the average salary.

The demand for tour guides in Korea is quite high at the moment. Many people are looking to visit Korea in the next few years.

Sadly, in the summer months, it will be very tiring, and you know how the South Korean work culture is. So, basically, there are almost no days off during this time of the month.

6. Programmers and Developers

The majority of people in Korea use technology on a daily basis and are connected to the internet. 

If you have expert-level skills in software development, you could be of value to a Korean-based company. 

In order to be successful as a programmer or developer in Korea, the foreigner must be a quick thinker and be efficient with logical problem-solving.

There are also several programs that a person must be familiar with to work as a programmer or developer in Korea, including:

  • Java
  • Swift
  • Android SDK 
  • Objective-C
  • Blockchain
  • Cloud
  • Data
  • AI & more

There has been a rising need for experienced programmers and developers in Korea, which is why companies are now excepting more foreign workers. 

Websites, apps, video games, and other computer programs are all a very big part of most Korean’s lives, especially the younger generation. 

People use these programs for education, work, and fun. 

7. International Project Manager

Project manager jobs are a great opportunity for foreigners that are fluent in Korean. 

As mentioned earlier in the article, one way to possibly land a job in Korea is to start working for a company in your home country that has a branch in Korea. 

This presents the possibility of getting transferred to Korea. If this happens, one position that’s common to get is a project manager.

However, it also helps to be bilingual and become familiar with the Korean language to be successful with this job. 

This is because when you’re working in Korea, you will likely use Korean more often than English. 

Since English is your native language, you will also be the go-to project manager for international projects that need to be presented in English.

8. Healthcare 

Foreign nurses and doctors can bring their skills to Korea to work. However, there are a few requirements that need to be met. 

You will need to get a Korean medical license to begin working in this field in Korea.

Luckily, this doesn’t require you to take several years of classes at a Korean university. 

As long as you have graduated from a medical college that has been approved by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, you can take the exam to obtain your license.

Foreigners who are interested in working in the medical field in Korea can arrange to take this test in July and August. 

It’s also important to know that anyone who wants to work in the medical field in Korea will need to learn the Korean language. 

This is because there are more tests to be taken, which will be done in Korean before a foreigner’s Korean medical license examination is complete. 

9. Manufacturing 

One of the great things about Korea is that the economy is continuing to expand more and more each year. This presents a lot of job openings in various fields. 

Manufacturing jobs are in demand throughout Korea. 

There are several factories that require more line workers, as well as engineers, audit managers, and more. 

There are a wide range of positions available to foreigners in the manufacturing industry. 

If the foreigner has an extensive background in the area they want to apply for, they will stand out among other applicants. 

10. Language Jobs

Knowing both English and Korean can set a person up for a lot of job opportunities in Korea. 

As we’ve mentioned several times throughout this article, it helps to be an expert in your field. 

However, what about people who want to experience life in Korea, but aren’t experts in any particular field? 

Well, this is when it could pay to be bilingual. 

There are many opportunities throughout Korea for translators and interpreters. These jobs are just for the movies. 

Many businesses that do trades and exports with international consumers rely on interpreters during these exchanges. 

Foreign workers who are native in English and fluent in Korean can be a valuable asset to many types of organizations. 

11. Finances

Foreigners that are experts in the field of finance can find a lot of opportunities in Korea.

Korea has a very sophisticated economy, with many people making above middle-class income. There is a higher interest in financial investments, stocks, cryptocurrency, and other types of finances.

Each day, many new finance jobs in Korea become available. 

Since there are more job openings in finances than people applying, more companies are beginning to accept foreign workers than ever before. 

12. Automotive

Another industry that is rapidly growing in Korea is the automotive industry. 

If you’re a foreigner in Korea who is looking for work, there are many jobs available in the car sector. 

This includes opportunities in sales, service, and technology. 

Experienced software engineers from foreign countries are also encouraged to apply for positions within Korea’s automotive industry.

13. Information Technology

Almost everyone in Korea uses a phone and computer. 

This has created a huge demand for information technology work. There are currently over a thousand job openings in this field that need to be filled

Foreign workers who meet the right requirements could see a future in working in Korea. 

Of course, it helps for anyone applying to already have a strong background in this field. 

Many business organizations and sectors of the entertainment industry in Korea need more IT professionals. 

Some of the IT jobs available for foreign workers include IT specialists, IT administrators, and app testers. 

Technology is a big part of the everyday lifestyle of Koreans. It’s heavily relied on for school, workplaces, and at home. 

That is why this country is always looking for more IT experts.

Other Jobs In Korea For Foreigners

Are you an expert in a field that we didn’t mention today? That doesn’t mean that you can’t be valuable to a Korean company. 

It never hurts to take some time to view different job sites used in Korea to see what openings are available in your field. 

In Korea, skill and experience are very important. If you’re an expert at what you do, you will automatically stand out.

The startup sector is growing heavily in Korea, with more startup businesses having success than ever before. 

Many of these startup companies are growing at a rate where they need to start hiring help. 

Foreign workers that are bilingual often stand out because of the opportunity to connect with international markets.

A lot of foreign workers find success working in sales in Korea. One thing to know about this nation is that many of the citizens enjoy shopping. 

This opens up a variety of sales positions in automotive, technology, fashion, cosmetics, and more. 

Sale opportunities are a great start for foreigners who are interested in moving to Korea but don’t have a strong educational background.

There are also many jobs for foreigners in the field of marketing, human relations, and public relations. 

As long as the foreigner is fluent in the Korean language, they will be able to get their foot in the door with a job in Korea. 

While English is the preferred native language for more jobs, there are also jobs for foreigners who don’t speak English.

Do You Have To Know Korean To Work In Korea?

If you plan on moving to Korea and getting a job there, it’s important that you learn the language. 

The truth is, that many foreigners struggle to get their first job in Korea. They need to have a strong resume, a degree or diploma in their field, and knowledge of the Korean language and culture. Without knowing Korean, it will be difficult to get a job.

While many people in Korea have learned English, their knowledge of it is slim. Most Koreans won’t be prepared to have fluent conversations in English. 

For this reason, you need to be familiar with the Korean language. 

There is one exception though. When foreigners are brought in to teach ESL at public schools, it’s preferred that they don’t speak Korean. 

This is because the students will have to speak, read, and write in English during the ESL classes. 

Korean schools believe that interacting with English-only teachers is a great way for the students to improve their language skills.

Final Thoughts 

Are there jobs in Korea for foreigners? Korea has a very sophisticated economy, and there are many jobs available. 

This creates opportunities for foreigners to apply and work in the country. While it is possible for foreigners to obtain work in Korea, it can be difficult to get a job unless they are an expert in their field. 

The number 1 job in demand for foreigners in Korea is ESL teachers. English teachers with a diploma from an approved university can apply to teach English as a second language to students in Korean public schools. 

No knowledge of Korean is needed because speaking English primarily encourages the students to learn the language.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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