Teaching Private Lessons In Korea As An English Tutor
Teaching private classes in Korea (tutoring English to Korean’s) is technically illegal. A teachers E2 working visa allows them to work for one employer only – the school they signed the contract with. The school is the teachers sponsor during their employment period and securing other sources of undeclared income from third party sources is an illegal offense that’s ‘technically’ punishable by Korean law.
Many westerners, regardless of the potential consequences, continue to teach private English lessons in Korea during their free time. The tutoring industry is highly lucrative and many people are able to supplement their incomes with an extra 1-2 million KRW each month. It’s not uncommon for Korean citizens to approach westerners in the grocery store, at the local bank, etc. and ask them for personal English lessons…usually for their children.
The consequences of getting caught vary and usually depend on the circumstances. Factors may include; what you were doing, the status of the person who catches you, who they report you to and what measures the authorities decide to punish you with (if at all). Note: Some teachers are given a warning only and asked to stop their private lessons, others may face any combination of the following punishments.
- Visa cancellation and deportation from Korea (may be issued with a 15 day exit order)
- A government issued fine of 1 million KRW or greater
- A possible 5 year ban from re-entering Korea as a tourist or worker
- Imprisonment is highly unlikely but there’s still a small a possibility if the teacher can’t afford to pay the fine
Can anyone teach private English lessons legally? To our knowledge the only teachers who can teach privately in Korea are those with F2-1 or F5 visas. We advise all teachers to speak with their registered employer before engaging in outside teaching opportunities.