Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to maximize your earnings on an F2 visa in South Korea

This is a question from Gary of Dagseoul on one of Paul's (Paul Ajosshi) Facebook 'status updates'.
Does F2 actually do anything for you?
A big YES! on that one, Gary. I've been on an F-2 for two years and in that time, I've seen my salary nearly quadruple. Sounds tricky at first, especially because there's an awful lot of noise surrounding the "dirty visa", but it makes sense since there's very little usable info to go on. 

First of all, the F2 allows you to work in nearly every industry in Korea. Of course, qualifications actually get you the job, but the F2 visa allows people to become more industrious and consider fields they once thought were off-limits. As we all very well know, the E2 limits you to language education and your visa sponsor, aka boss, pretty much controls your earning limit as well as a bunch of other things you once had control of in your home nation. 

Once on the F2, you can leave the education industry. That might sound very enticing to some. I've known people who have gone into writing, publishing, entertainment, video production and recruiting. Leaving the education industry might appeal to some, but unless you are producing something yourself, the income level is ultimately controlled by that industry. What I mean is that if you decide to take a job as an editor with KTO, you'd be free from teaching, but your income still hovers between 2-3 million a month. 

Before settling into what I'm currently doing, I tested a lot of different educational waters and weighed my options. I first thought that I would continue teaching at a hagwon and then pick-up advertised (and taxed) tutoring jobs. After all, if you post your resume on a website like Worknplay, you'll continually be offered positions and tutoring gigs all over the city. That sounded pretty good at first, especially since many of them paid nearly 50,000 an hour. But once you actually look at the time and numbers, you're only making an extra 1-2 million plus you've gotta be traveling all over the place with the possibility of having cancellations. That wasn't concrete enough and since marriage requires a certain level of stability, I continued searching for the right combination.

There's also the option of doing privates on the F2, but with Kang Shin-who's tabloids running in the KT and admitted stalker/pervert/cunt-bag Yie Eun-woong going through peoples garbage, it just isn't worth the hassle. Regardless of the facts (something that those two fail to understand), getting involved with the police over teaching English would be embarrassing to you and your Korean family.

After a few months of putting it all together, I decided the best way to do it was to work in two schools. You get the split-shift and add an afternoon program in the middle. One of the unwritten perks of the F2 is its persuasive power to increase salary. To a school, the F2 represents longevity, experience, interest in Korea and -this is the kicker- simplicity. Hiring an F2 takes five minutes. All they actually need is a diploma. The background checks and all the other immigration garbage is gone. Schools like that are willing to negotiate on salary. They also know that toying with you or playing games is much harder since you not only have been around, but also have a spouse and Korean family to back you up.

The afternoon school is a little trickier. Most will require you to get the same documentation (criminal, medical, transcripts etc...) as E2's, but again you can negotiate. Hiring you might be only a little easier than an F2, but longevity comes into play again and schools hate losing teachers. 

What I have right now took a little time to get, but it works well. I'm the manager at my adult language institute which means I choose the hours I work/teach without losing any wages. That's to say, it's very flexible. Secondly, I work for an afternoon program that's literally 30 SECONDS away from my other gig. On top of that, both gigs are within two minutes of my house.

How much do I work a week? 

Depending on how much energy I have, anywhere between 40-55 hours a week. 

There are tons of ways to make it work and probably lots of you who have made it work even better. Care to share?


์กฐ์•ˆ๋‚˜ said...

I don't have an F2, but I was surprised by your comment about tutoring. Is it still illegal to do privates, even with the F series? I thought you were in the clear for that sort of thing once you were out of the E2 buisness?

Or is it just that it's under the table work and as illegal as it is back in the states?

The Expat said...

The F-series allows for private tutoring, but you have to report your income. No one really pursues F-series holders because many of them are Koreans as well and they can do no wrong.

Unknown said...

Ive had an f2 for 2 yrs now and I am wanting out of teaching. Any ideas to help?


Xinerama said...

Wow! Your article is great and that salary sounds awesome. I'm a month away from celebrating one year with my F2 but I am no where in the vicinity of quadruple my old salary. The crazy thing is that I live right next to one of the biggest hagwan areas in Korea. There are probably more than 20 hagwons all crammed together on this street. So, I don't mind teaching but I'd much rather do something a little different. Do you think walking right up to these hagwons and giving them my resume would help? I'm really tired of traveling.

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