Will immigration stop you if you leave the country early from your school in South Korea? My brother wants to leave, but he's worried he would get stopped at the airport. Can they do that?
Easy one here. No they can not. Immigration has no right or authority to forbid anyone from leaving the country so long as they have not committed a crime worthy of detention. If he wants to leave because he is unhappy, then there is nothing (besides guilt from quitting) stopping him in the least. As I have said before, I don't like it when people bail early. It's disrespectful to your employer and to your fellow teachers.
Of course, the situation could be really horrible and I understand that he might might need to bail. If that's the case and he doesn't want to tell his employers, then a silent midnight-run is what he needs.
For a successful midnight-run:
Don't tell anyone!
This means that you shouldn't even tell your close friends or co-workers. Oftentimes, co-workers will be angry at you because it will increase their workload. If they know you're thinking about it, they might try to lay it on thick or tell the school about your plans.
Leave a note with enough money to pay for your utilities
Even though the school is out some cash because of you, they will still want to make sure you're not dead or hurt. If you leave a note explaining your decision, they will appreciate the effort (even if they are angry about your decision). You should also leave 50 bucks or so alongside the note. The school should not have to pay YOUR utility bills.
Clean your apartment
If you leave your place trashed or intentionally trash it before you go, then the school might get on the horn claiming that you are a criminal and damaged the apartment intentionally. Clean it up. Do the dishes. Wash the sheets. It's the least you can do.
Make sure you get what you earned
I know some people might not like this one, but things happen in life and situations change. Make sure you get your paycheck before pulling a run. You earned it, so why not collect? Don't, however, be a total dick and get your paycheck, plus a payment advance and THEN bail. That's low.
Leave as late at night or early in the morning as possible
This is crucial. You never know what's going to happen with weather, so do yourself a favor and be on the plane and en route to your home country BEFORE your employer discovers your gone. Buy your bus ticket to the airport early. If you live outside of Seoul, consider heading to Incheon the night before and, if you can't get a late night flight, then stay in a cheap motel and catch the first flight out.
If you follow those steps, then you should have no problem getting out of the country with relative ease. Now, what if your school is holding your diploma? Get it back. What about your pension? In most situations, it could be difficult to get it, but there's no reason not to try. Check out my post on pension collection for more on that.
Pulling a midnight-run is a low move, but sometimes it's what you gotta do. I hope that this particular case is more of the "I have a family emergency" kind, rather than the "I don't like teaching" excuse. Either way, be safe.