Thursday, November 18, 2010

Semi-portability of teaching visas?

With a hat tip to Stafford (he reads the KT so I won't have to!), it appears that Immigration is going to allow a lot more freedom for secondary work for E-series visa holders (including the E2 and E1 status that so many English teachers are on). Quoting Stafford:
Finally it seems Immigration has legitimized a practice that has been going on ever since I have been in Korea. That is the practice of private Hakwon contracting out their Native English Speaking Teachers on E2 visas to businesses and other miscellaneous organisations to teach English. And i would say it hasn't just been Hakwon, but also the occasional University that has had it's E1 visa holders teaching in offices and community centres - all technically against the law and with little recourse for the teachers themselves who, at least until last week, were subject to cancellation of their visa and possible deportation if caught, while the employers were in line for little more than a slap on the wrist.
The Korea Times article he is working from is here.

This would mean greater work opportunities for E-series visa holders (allowing them to work "second jobs" more freely and more often), while at the same time it would allow some hagwon or other industries to utilize anglophone labor and skill sets, in conjunction with the anglophone's employer, without going through the costly and time-consuming effort of visa sponsorship. A win-win (or even win-win-win).

But wait, there's more. This could mean that those places least able to take on a full-time worker, and therefore most likely to have trouble meeting payroll on time, providing decent housing, creating a work environment where a non-Korean-speaking anglophone can spend most of the day without pulling his/her hair out, will be able to get by simply with a legal "temp" coming in once, twice, or a few times a week. That's now you, if you're an E-series visa holder.

Given that places like that are more likely to be "fly by night," this might mean that the fly-by-night operations will have to behave better in order to attract steady "temps," because now they will no longer rely on a captive worker who's stuck there for the year. Additionally, this might mean fewer disgruntled English teachers whose primary gripes stem from workplace shenanigans.

This also means that a smaller supply of English teachers can more flexibly fill the demand. Great news if you've already got a job, but bad news if you're back in Manitoba or Mississippi looking for work in Masan. This might even mean more money for the work that is available.

It's also possible that the greater flexibility might mean more actual work available, as potential workplaces that had need for anglophones, but not so much that they could justify the cost of bringing on a full-time hire, come looking for the newly freed-up E2s and E1s.

An interesting and significant development, to say the least. A lot will depend on how "subsidiary" is defined, but I would imagine that would be covered with "contracted" work. Don't be surprised if your visa sponsor expects a percentage or a finder's fee of sorts (and since they're going through the financial burden and legal responsibility of sponsoring you, perhaps they deserve something).

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1 comment:

  1. Also, according to last week’s Chinese-language 韩中法律时报 (China-Korea Legal Times), corporations and government ministries will now be able to sponsor E-2 visas and hire full-time English teachers (not just contract out work).

    IMHO, a very good move on the part of the Korean government.


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