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Working in Seoul

If working in Seoul sounds appealing to you, why not give it a try? Seoul, home of many international companies, offers many exciting opportunities for expats. We give you an insight into the economy, the expat job market, visas, and everything else you need to know about working in Seoul.
Seoul is South Korea's economic center.

At a Glance:

  • Since the financial crisis of 1998, economic reforms have transformed Seoul into one of the world’s biggest hubs for business.
  • The city’s job market is highly competitive and proficiency in Korean will certainly benefit you.
  • When it comes to business, the harmony of the collective, the respect for authority, and the importance of family and friendships are highly valued.
  • Tax rates are based on individual income instead of joint household income and will be handled by your employer.


South Korea experienced an economic growth rate of 3% in 2017, it’s fastest growth since the 3.3% growth seen in 2014. The country has taken big steps since the 1960s and is now one of the largest economies in Asia, forever seeking integration into the global market. As a hub for many multinational companies, Seoul offers great employment opportunities for expatriates.

Getting to Know the Economy

The economic development that Seoul, and more broadly South Korea has gone through, is impressive. The country reacted to the first crisis in 1998 with economic reforms which brought greater openness to imports and foreign investment by companies interested in doing business in Seoul and the rest of the nation.

The majority of people working in Seoul are employed in the services sector. Still, the manufacturing industries, and to a lesser extent the agricultural sector, remain major employers in South Korea. Foreigners who are interested in working in Seoul are likely to find work in one of the major industries such as electronics; telecommunications, automobile production, and the chemical industry.

On top of this, the majority of South Korea’s population, 81.5 percent, currently lives in Seoul and other major cities. The urban area around Seoul is home to almost half of South Korea’s population. Foreign residents in Seoul will benefit from the numerous economic opportunities. International banks and major companies such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia are located here. Seoul is the world’s fourth largest metropolitan economy and has a GDP of 779.3 billion USD.

Taking Care of Your Work Visa

There are different types of work visas which could apply to you while you are working in Seoul. This depends strongly on your occupation and on the duration of your stay. A temporary employment visa (C-4) is probably the best fit for most expatriates with a job in Seoul. However, you should refer to our article on moving to Seoul and to your nearest South Korean embassy for more information on visa types.

What is important for expats, no matter which type of visa they need, is to enter the country within 90 days after the visa has been granted. If you fail to do so, your visa will expire and you will have to go through the entire application process again. Your visa will also expire as soon as your work contract ends. You will then have to leave South Korea within 14 days. If you want to keep working in Seoul, you can, of course, find another job. Unfortunately, this will not prevent you from having to go through the process of re-applying for a work visa.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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