How to get Jobs in South Korea for Indians?
I get that question all the time — almost every single day. Today, more and more people want to live and work in Korea than ever before.
You’re not alone if you are also drawn to the fascinating notion of working there!
This may sound like a far-fetched idea. Nearly too good to be true, even though the reasons for moving there are pretty obvious.
But the great news is you can make it happen with the power of proper planning and preparation. This is despite being a not-an-easy goal.
People, especially girls from far and wide, including India, flock to Korea each year to travel, pursue higher studies, or start a new career.
How easy or difficult is finding a job in Korea for Indians? Is it worth it? What do you need, and which visa to get? How to apply?
This article covers all you need to know about jobs in South Korea from an Indian perspective.
So let’s dive in and get the ball rolling!
Table of Contents
- Why work in Korea of all choices?
- Things to know before starting your Korean job search
- Job opportunities for Indians in Korea
- What do you need to get jobs in Korea?
- Where to look for jobs?
- Indian professionals seeking employment in Korea
- Should you consider working in Korea?
Why work in Korea of all choices?
Instead, the question should be, “Why not?”
When you think of Korea, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
BTS, Kimchi, Gangnam Style, Cosmetics, Parasite, Squid Game?
You will be surprised to learn that there’s more to it than that.
As Asia’s fourth-largest economy, it has a thriving economy. It is home to major brands such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, KIA, POSCO, Lotte, etc.
South Korea’s economy continues to flourish at a stable rate. As a result, it is among the top 15 economies and the sixth-largest exporter as of 2022.
Besides the Korean economy, the popularity of Korean culture is also on the rise.
Mouthwatering foods, delightful Kpop, Kmovies and Kdrama, beautiful places, and high quality of life are reasons to get a job in Korea.
Your stay there will allow you to explore the unique culture and rich traditions you won’t find anywhere else.
You will also get a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn, practice, and improve your Korean language.
You do not need to enroll in a Korean course. Instead, you can study through immersion by speaking with locals and using the language in day-to-day activities.
Earning, learning, and enjoying all three together is possible by living in the place, the “land of the morning calm.” With so many positive factors, you will surely make lifelong memories.
Things to know before starting your Korean job search
As you prepare to embrace your dream of going to Korea, having realistic expectations can increase your chances of achieving success.
Native speakers are better at understanding cultures than foreigners. So, they will always have an advantage. Thus, do not compete with Koreans, but rather focus on tasks that you are better at.
Identify a niche in which your skills and background can benefit the company.
For example, Indians will do better for a company that deals with India, South Asia, or even a region with many Indian diasporas.
As a foreigner with rare expertise in Korea, you’ll be more beneficial. Also, you’ll be even more valuable if your work involves communicating with international clients, especially from your home country.
I’ve made a list of all the key things you need to know about employment in Korea.
So, without further ado, let’s get into more detail about getting a job in South Korea from India.
Work Culture in South Korea
Koreans believe longstanding respect, hierarchy, and humility should be incorporated into a modern culture without losing their core values.
Despite a steady increase in foreigners, traditional customs still prevail, especially in their work culture and approach to human relations.
They believe that spending time together builds strong bonds, so it is not unusual for the team leader to take them out for a meal or drink.
Team dinners, called Hweshik, are a regular activity to relieve stress in Korean companies. It also strengthens relationships between colleagues.
Koreans value respect even for strangers. So, if you meet someone for the first time, wait for a third party to introduce you. Then, you can address someone by their formal title and your own.
Hierarchy plays a vital role in work culture. It is, thus, common to see obvious distinctions in mannerisms between rankings. For example, they value seniority, both by age and profession.
CV for the Korean job market
The South Koreans pay close attention to detail and are particular about certain things. Thus, many companies have standard CV formats and specifications.
South Korean CVs are short and contain specific keywords instead of phrases. Follow the standard format to the best of your ability.
The Korean people place a high value on appearance, etiquette, and manners. So, make sure you dress well and in a formal outfit appropriate for the position you are applying for.
They bow rather than shaking hands when they meet. Only shake hands if the interviewer starts it. They will respect you if you are humble and confident.
An interview requires punctuality. Come to the appointment at least 10 minutes early. If you can, bring hard copies of both your English and Korean resumes.
Points to consider for jobs in South Korea
Here are a few points to remember before applying for any job in Korea.
(i) Working hours
South Korea has a long history of working extended hours. They work longer than any other developed country.
Now, the maximum workweek is 52 hours. This includes a typical 40 regular hours plus 12 hours of overtime.
The number of public holidays varies from year to year, ranging from 10 to 16. Your paid annual leave also grows each year you work for your employer.
If you rarely miss working days, the company will award you some paid vacation. Likewise, they will reduce paid leave if you are absent more than average.
(iii) Government Tax rates
Workers in South Korea must pay income tax and health and pension insurance.
There are two possibilities for foreigners.
Either you pay a progressive income tax rate that varies between 8 and 45 percent or a flat tax rate of 19% on their gross earnings. So, if your income is high, a flat tax is better.
(iv) The living costs
The cost of living varies depending on where you live and how you live. For example, Seoul, the capital city, is much more expensive than other cities.
Public transportation and utilities are both reasonably priced. Korean food is substantially less expensive than western cuisine. Marketplaces and small businesses are cheaper than big stores.
Like outings and weekend trips, the lifestyle expenses are pretty subjective and depend on the person. This can increase the cost if you do not keep a tab on it or often indulge in pampering yourself.
(v) Big Cities
English-speaking foreigners and Indians prefer the capital city of Seoul because it is easy to live there.
Busan, Incheon, and Daegu are also excellent cities for opportunities since they are still expanding and in high demand.
Daejeon, Gwangju, Suwon, Ulsan, and Jeju are some perfect options for those seeking a slightly lower cost of living. But savings also come with some compromises.
For example, you need to speak Korean well to live in these cities. The home embassy or consulates may also be far away. So, you may not find your preferred restaurants or many people from your home country.
Job opportunities for Indians in Korea
There are plenty of requirements in various fields in South Korea. Job opportunities are now more plentiful than ever before. Prospects for finding work are not limited to just a few industries.
It is not necessary to speak Korean fluently for some of these positions! Still, a higher language level can help you get better and more job options.
Don’t let that dampen your spirits. There are still many choices available to you. So, let’s look at some of the most popular jobs for Indians in Korea.
(i) Teaching English in Korea
Teaching English in Korea is the most popular job for foreigners. Because of the high demand, the requirement for ESL (English as a second language) teachers is immense.
You can work for government public schools like EPIK, SMOE, GOE, GEPIK, TaLK, private centers (Hagwon), or even universities. Many companies also hire English trainers for their employees.
You need at least a bachelor’s degree and English test certificates like TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA. And if you have teaching experience, it can be an added advantage, though not compulsory.
Applicants must be native English speakers from the UK, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, or South Africa. Indians are also eligible to apply as per the CEPA agreement between India-Korea.
But it is difficult to get an ESL job for Indians. Most Koreans favor natives with native accents. So, unless you have a flawless accent, a teacher’s license, and relevant background, it would be tough to get one.
(ii) Jobs in Indian companies in Korea
Many Indian companies like Tata Motors, Novelis, TCS, Wipro, Mahindra and Mahindra, Nucleus, and L&T Infotech have offices in South Korea.
The branches are spread throughout the country (Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, Busan, Gunsan, Incheon, etc.)
They hire Indian engineers and professionals for jobs in South Korea. Also, some of them send their own staff from India to South Korea for temporary or long-term projects.
Irreversibly, if you are working in a Korean company in India, you can try to get transferred to Korea.
So, with some research and crafty networking, you might be able to convince your company to get relocated to Korea. Of course, this may not be easy, but it is worth a shot!
(iii) IT professionals from India
There is a surge in the need for skilled IT professionals and researchers in South Korea. As a result, many Korean companies are now keen to recruit tech engineers from India.
This includes programmers, software engineers, cloud, app devs, IA, etc.
Large companies like LG and Samsung have hundreds of IT experts from India. Thus, this makes it the most popular job for Indians in South Korea.
They also offer them above-par salaries, even by western standards, and provide incentives like free housing and food.
These IT specialists could make similar or even more money in Europe, the US, and India. Still, most work in Korea because they are fascinated with Korea and for their own personal reason.
You also do not need to speak good Korean. But, an elementary-level Korean skill is enough to work in this field.
(iv) Language related to jobs
Do you speak two languages fluently?
You can also work as an interpreter, translator, proofreader, content creator, or in jobs that require Korean language skills.
Of course, English and Korean are the most popular combinations. Yet, there is also a demand for other languages, including Indian, uncommon, and less popular.
Such jobs pay between INR 80,000 to 3,00,000 per month on average. It depends on the position, the experience, and the skillset.
(v) Office and other jobs for Indians
The job market in South Korea is also growing, and new openings cover a variety of industries. This includes auto, shipbuilding, manufacturing, finance, oil and gas, healthcare, electronics, chemicals, steel, etc.
The startup sector is booming and expanding rapidly. As a result, Seoul has a flourishing startup ecosystem.
It has already spent 1.6 billion dollars on expansion in the past year. Even with pandemics, the government invests in and supports startups.
South Korea is also known for its markets, entertainment, marketing, sales, human resources, public relations, project management, and other crucial work lines.
Such professions require you to be an expert in them. So, employers prefer you over other applicants or locals in the same field.
Besides teaching and various white-collar and high-paying jobs in South Korea, there are also EPS of migrant workers.
Indians cannot apply to work under the Employment Permit System (EPS). This is because there is no arrangement between India and SK, unlike countries like Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.
(vi) Indian-specific work
As the suicide rate and stress level rise, South Koreans are becoming more aware of the importance of healing treatments and relaxation.
Indian Yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and ancient health remedies specific to India have attracted people from all over Korea.
The Korean craze has created many prestigious positions. Various healing programs are needed for these assignments.
Since India is one of the top exporters of such talent, you will probably find many prospects if you have outstanding skills and experience.
Are you working as a chef or manager in a hotel?
You can also seek Freshers jobs in Indian restaurants in Korea. You can also work in the Korean tourism industry that caters to tourists from India.
What do you need to get jobs in Korea?
All job options share some basic requirements. If you wish to work in South Korea, you must have a university degree. The 12th pass won’t be sufficient, mostly.
Your degree must be related to the job you are seeking. The specific criteria differ as per the company and industry where you intend to apply.
You may need a TEFL, CELTA, or TESOL certificate as an English teacher.
Likewise, some management roles may require prior experience, along with MBA. A good health record and no criminal background are also vital!
Do you need to speak Korean to work in Korea?
Many Koreans in big cities speak some English. This is because most schools and colleges teach it. Still, they cannot speak or understand that well and can only read and write a bit.
The majority of full-time jobs in Korea require candidates to have at least an intermediate level of proficiency in Korean.
To qualify for these jobs, you must communicate clearly with others. In most cases, taking the TOPIK level 3 or 4 tests is necessary for applying.
An interviewer can still assess your language skills, even without that.
Most employers prefer to hire workers who can speak the language or want to learn Korean. They can thus blend in better with their colleagues and the work environment.
Worry not if you aren’t yet fluent!
Several IT projects, teaching positions, corporate jobs, etc., do not require advanced Korean. Instead, a beginner’s language ability and familiarity with the field are sufficient.
Where to look for jobs?
You can search for job postings uploaded by employers online. The most popular websites are Saramin, Job Korea, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Global Korea Center, Work-Net, and People N Job, to name a few.
You can look into ESL-based sites, agencies, and job boards for teaching English. For instance, Korvia, Gone2Korea, Dave’s ESL Cafe, CIEE, English Work, Footprints, Teach Away, Teach ESL, Reach to Teach, Hands Korea, Work N Play, etc.
You can also find job vacancies in English-language newspapers such as The Korea Times, The Korea Herald, and The Seoul Times.
If you could manage the initial expenses after moving to Korea. Then, you might consider looking for jobs through newspaper listings.
This has the advantage of going to in-person or walk-in interviews and making a better impression on your potential employers.
If you go through Indian or Korean companies from India, they will manage everything.
Indian professionals seeking employment in Korea
In 2010, India and the Republic of Korea signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
In the CEPA agreement, Indians in 163 professions are now allowed to work in the ROK. There are some benefits to this.
For example, if any Indian wishes to become an assistant English teacher in primary or secondary school. Plus, it is more helpful for Indians than applicants from other countries.
It applies if it is a non-English-speaking nation without a CEPA agreement.
HunetKorea is a website dedicated to hiring Indian professionals in Korea. The site provides information about visa applications and is a data bank for companies and candidates.
It serves as a bridge between companies in Korea and the finest talents globally, including India, who want to work in South Korea. It can also help with visa procedures.
Types of Visas
Regardless of your profession and job, you need a visa to work or stay in South Korea.
Depending on the nature of the work and duration, you can apply for it. For example, E-1 Professor, E-2 Foreign Language Teacher, E-5 Special profession, C-4 Short Term Employment, etc.
Most times, you also require sponsorship from the company. There may be some other conditions, too, with specific visas. So, check out the exact requirements.
Indian students, whether self-funding or GKS scholarship, in Korea can work part-time by applying for an S3 visa rather than having a D-type study visa.
You can only do this 6 months after the arrival date and need approval from your institution.
Should you consider working in Korea?
To sum up, getting a job in South Korea from India isn’t easy. Your choices are limited because of the language barrier, strict visa policy, average salary, finite job market, and distinct work conditions.
That’s why the number of Indians living on the entire Korean peninsula is lower than in small areas of Dubai, Toronto, London, New York, Sydney, or Singapore.
Yet, working in South Korea has many clear benefits.
For example, relish delicious foods, visit this spectacular place, enjoy unique cultural aspects, experience Hallyu, and meet friendly people. You will get another good reason to learn Korean.
And, of course, job prospects in Korea. So, despite some drawbacks, it is a big motivation for Korean enthusiasts to come from India.
A truly unforgettable experience is waiting for you. You may also discover that the rewards far outweigh the struggles you may encounter.
It’s challenging to achieve your dreams. But if you plan carefully and work on your profile, you may move to Korea someday.
It has always been my aim to ensure the accuracy of all information. Still, a few things are highly dynamic and might change in the future. So make sure to check and verify on the official websites for updated information.
Are you considering South Korea as a job destination? Let me know what you think about it in the comments!