Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pension Contribution and Lump-sum Payment for British Teachers in South Korea

Here's the question (in response to the post on pensions):

I'm British and as far as I know, Yes we do have to pay the 4.5% into a pension fund! That's what I've been doing since 2001 at YBM ELS and they are clued up and legit on all this stuff. I've also checked it out at the local pension office in Daegu.

Brits don't get a lump sum refund. They get zero. I've read on some blogs that apparently payments here can be credited to your pension history in the UK. NOT according to the guy I spoke to in Newcastle Upon Tyne, the main UK centre. The only thing possible (which is in the extract from the pension act which you listed) is that after 10 years of contributions, you can receive a monthly pension from Korea when reaching 60. How many teachers stay 10 years!!?

If you know anything different or more positive than this PLEASE let me know. I live in hope! Thank very much


There also seems to be a discrepancy between what the law says should happen and what is happening. The law states that citizens of the UK must pay into the National Pension Fund every month. However, since there is a contribution-only convention in place, no lump-sum payments are made when leaving Korea. And yet, I have talked to several British teachers today who are working in different educational mediums and none of them are paying into the pension fund. I know that YBM is on the up and up, but this issue is proving to be more vexing than I originally thought.

Galbijim says, "Unlike the US and Canada, Korea and the UK have only agreed to a 'contribution only' convention, at this time. What this means to UK citizens working in Korea, is that your Korean pension contributions can be added to your accruing pension credits in the UK, of which you can begin to receive when you retire in that country."

I read the 12 page agreement that can be found on this site under the UK Social Security link and it said nothing about 10 years, but that doesn't mean it's not true. It appears that there is not a clear answer to this, so I would suggest you write several detailed emails to the HMRC and see how diverse the replies you get are. Maybe a few truths will be revealed.

Might I suggest that if you do find out that you must be here for ten years, then why don't you stay for another year a half (which would put you at ten years) so you will get those benefits that you've been paying into for the past eight years.


You can come back to Korea when you're 60 and retire.

I wish I could say that I had a definitive answer, but this one is tricky. The law states that you should get those benefits back in the UK, so I guess we have to assume that is what is what will happen. Of course, this doesn't help with the fact that so many British teachers are not paying into their pension every month or that the fellow you talked to told you something different as well. I'm going to ask around on my teacher group and see what I come up with. I'll update this soon.

If anybody has any questions, just send me an email at or leave a comment.


Mike said...

Just do what my Brit friend did, tell the school the deal and say you want the money up front.

Worked for him.

The Expat said...

Does the school have an option? I know that WL Brits aren't paying into it.

Unknown said...

Please advise.
I may be somewhat of a first.
I'm British and I want to receive a Korean pension, upon retirement in Korea.
I will work for at least another 20 years, all in Korea.
I am a long term resident and am now a permanent resident. Have just received my F5 visa.
I will retire here and will live out my days here.
I have searched everywhere, in Korean and English, but nothing says if British people can receive a Korean pension. Only references are regarding no lump sums. Korean pension service website says foreigners can receive a Korean pension upon retirement, but it doesn't say which nationalities. Please advise. Wife also called the office but they said no, but one other office said yes!?!

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