FAQ: Can Filipinos teach English in Korea?

Can Filipinos teach English in Korea? This is a common question I usually get from ESL teachers in the Philippines. A few years ago, it was reported on a Korean news site that the country may open its doors to English teachers from the Philippines. There was also a Filipina married to an American who tried to challenge visa rules on English teaching. She is now working in Thailand.

As of August 9, 2016, the Korean government has not opened its doors to Filipino English teachers the way Japan had. The visa for teaching the language is the E-2 and only citizens from seven countries are eligible for it. These are Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. They are the ones considered to be “native English speakers” although there are open-minded Koreans who recognize Filipinos as “NES” too.

filipinos teach english in korea

Although the E-2 visa is not for the Philippine-passport holder, there are Filipino English teachers in Korea. Here are ways that they can teach here…

Marriage Immigrants

Marriage immigrants from the Philippines usually find jobs teaching English at “hagwons”, public schools and even on their own. The F-6 visa granted to marriage immigrants enables them to work at any job they qualify. Eleven years ago, F-2 (former marriage immigrant visa) were not allowed to legally be English teachers. It was only in 2005 that the immigration allowed it.

Temporary/Permanent Resident

If a Filipino passport holder has a temporary (F-2) or permanent visa (F-5), he or she can apply for any job. The resident visa holder could work at a “hagwon” or even a public school if wanted or offer private tutoring service.

Missionary/Religious Visa

I don’t know exactly the process involved in getting a missionary or religious visa BUT I do know a few Filipinos who are here on D-6 or Missionary/Religious Visa and their work sometimes involve English teaching. A few churches here in Korea offer free English tutorial or classes.

University Professor

Yes, there are Filipinos working as university professors in Korea in different fields. An old classmate spent some time as a professor of Nursing in a provincial university. There is also an Associate Professor of English at a university in Seoul and many others who are respected in their fields. How to find a university job? Check the university homepages or take your graduate studies in Korea. There is a group of Filipino professors in the country – AFEK or Association of Filipino Educators in Korea. You can find them on Facebook and you could perhaps ask about any teaching opportunity at universities.

Short-term Employment

It is possible to come to Korea and teach with the short-term employment visa. They usually work at summer and winter camps and employment does not exceed 90 days. Try to find listings on ESL job boards for Korea. Don’t apply if the posting says “native speakers only”. Remember that in Korea, the Filipino is not considered a “native” English speaker.

D-2 or D-4 Student Visa

Foreign students in regular programs in Korean universities are allowed to work part time BUT it is necessary to inform the immigration and get a permit. You can find more information from the webpage of Study Korea.

Remember that the process of employment visa in Korea should be done by the employer and when the visa number is issued, that’s the only time that the employee can apply for visa at the Korean Embassy.

A prospective employee just cannot come to Korea with a tourist visa and expect that his or her visa could be changed to a working one. The immigration does not allow that. Application for visa is always done at the Korean Embassy.

6 comments

    1. HI! Unfortunately it is not true. Read the “editor’s note” – I just don’t understand why they have not updated their info.

  1. Hi Betchay! I am very interested in teaching english in Korea. I am a naturalized American Citizen. I took my studies here in PH. Will it be possible for me to have a chance to get in? Hoping for a response. Thank you.

    1. No. Philippine passport holders are not in the list of the countries that could get the E2 or English teaching visa.

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