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Let this be a lesson to you... (please read!)

 
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Phoenix



Joined: 03 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 5:19 am    Post subject: Let this be a lesson to you... (please read!) Reply with quote

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

I have been here in Korea for just over the 6 month mark, and I've been enjoying it immensely. I am the only foreign teacher in a small hagwon near Seoul. We have around 70 or so students, and I have a 25 hour a week contract.
The small number of kids meant that I was always working sub-20 hours a week, so one day my boss said to me that I would be working at another hagwon for a few more hours a week and that would bring me up to my contract hours.
I thought nothing of this as I assumed (incorrectly, with hindsight) that it was the done thing.

So I taught at the two schools for a couple of months and fairly enjoyed both places- until one day a hit squad of 7 immigration officers turn up at my 2nd school, investigating a report about a foreign teacher (me) going to a school only a couple of times a week.
I was informed by the immigration officers that it is illegal to work at the 2 schools as you're only allowed to work at the place your E-2 visa is registered for. I didn't have a clue about this rule at all, and it came as a complete shock to me to be told that I was working illegally, as I have no desire to do so (hell, I don't even jaywalk here because I'm told it's illegal!)
They asked questions: "how much money did you make?" (none), "how many hours a week did you work?" (four or five) etc.. then took my alien card and said they'd investigate the matter and I would have to go to immigration with my directors to find out what the result would be.

That's when I found this website, and a whole host of other ones that have been great for providing information. If only I'd found this place earlier....
Anyway, the time between the immigration bust and going to the immigration office was one of the worst times of my life, particularly as I'd read on here that immigration tends to deport people who are found to be working illegally. I tried to console myself with the thought that I wasn't knowingly working illegally, and hoped they'd take that into account.

Eventually they called, and me and my 2 directors went to the immigration office in Seoul to meet with the investigator. The officer said that the 2 school arrangement was illegal, but because it wasn't a conscious choice of mine to work illegally (I'd have refused right away when my director suggested it if I knew it was) I think it did count in my favour.
Both schools got hit with 1,000,000won fines, and I got a 500,000won fine. The 'illegal' school director paid the whole lot because he took full responsibility for the situation. I was given a warning that if it were to happen again then I'd be hit with a much bigger fine and also instant deportation.

So... in conclusion let me just say this: To anyone out there in the same situation as me, working in 2 schools or at 2 locations - ask your director today if they have applied for permission.
It seems like such an easy process (having read the Sticky thread on this website) and I'm surprised my 2nd director didn't do it. I'm chalking it up to naivety as both my directors are relatively new to the hagwon business - a poor excuse for not being aware though.

Working illegally was never something I wanted to do, it was never something I set out to do and it most certainly is never something I will do in the future.. the risk is too great. If I can provide a small piece of information and help someone else who might unknowingly be in a situation like mine, then I hope it's worked here.
Check with your director. Check with immigration (to be doubly sure, if your suspicious). Refuse to work at a second place if you don't get a straight answer.
I wouldn't wish the feelings that I've gone through in the last few days on anybody.

Thanks for reading Smile
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The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Location: Middle Land

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's this type of first-hand accounts we need more of.

Thank-you Phoenix for your story. It is very helpful for all of us.

It's too bad that bad things have to happen in order for lessons to be learned, but that's what mistakes are all about.


-GWoW
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Anda



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 2:58 pm    Post subject: Um Reply with quote

Unless you have got permission directly from immigration then don't believe a boss here as many will say they have permission when they haven't.
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hellofaniceguy



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: On your computer screen!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That 500,000 Won fine that was yours and was paid by the school is a black mark on your immigration record. Not the school. In the unlikely event that you should have a problem with immigration in the future, that black mark will come back to haunt you. Other than that, welcome to korea! The land of constant changes.
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Mody Ba



Joined: 22 May 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 5:03 pm    Post subject: And Yet...Some People Will Say You Will Never Get Caught.... Reply with quote

I hope anyone contemplating teaching illegally reads this thread.I hope the guys who ALREADY are teaching illegally also read it.The guys who say"Hey,don't worry.Nobody ever gets caught."Apparently,people DO get caught.And yes,it is a black mark on your record.
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Bulsajo



Joined: 16 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

For a moment there I thought you were going to start teliing us about Happiness Stan [Ogdens Nut Gone Flake].
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mack the knife



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: standing right behind you...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bulsajo,

aren't you jealous that someone lifted your monniker? i would be... Wink
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itaewonguy



Joined: 25 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to you know..

ok I have heard about the crack downs especially in june july pre intensive camps etc...

and of course tip offs and other immigration random busts..

but what I want to know is, how does the immigration finance this..
they had 7 officers come onto one school????
7!!!! jesus is the guy an armed offender or something..
so if the immigration are moving in groups of seven all pilled up in their bongo going from school to school, then that means the size of korea their would have to be at least 2500 workers just out on investigation?
in the whole country? ummm thats alot of money being spent..
directors get fined, teachers get fined, teachers get deported, officers get paid!! seems like a never ending cycle...

I worked at a hakwon once during some intensive course we were givin notice by immigration that they were coming so all part timers didnt come in the next day?.. and when the sister branch got raided I guess the bribe was paid so immigration wouldnt check the other 10 schools..

its all corruption at its finist. the ony ones who suffer are the pawns in the games,, teachers and students!!

ohh well , goodluck to you all out there, people doing privates, doing those business classes, or part times on weekends or evenings,
I know their are plenty out here who do and some who dont..
anyway watch your back! and if the shit hits the fan, RUN!!!
dont get caught!!!
run like the wind!! how they gonna find you if they dont know you!!
better then being civil and thinking by coperating with them they will let you go and not fine you!!! YEAh LIKE THATS GOING TO HAPPEN!!
like to see how far AJOESI can run... with all that soju and ciggerettes in his system he wont even bother giving chance!!
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mrroboto



Joined: 29 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hahah, yes that would be fun, until the director gives you up and they come to your house asking why you ran Smile
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William Beckerson
Guest




PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Y'know, I hear that in Japan, you own your work visa, not your school.

I think this very simple thing might straighten this cesspool of an industry up.
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Phoenix



Joined: 03 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If those folk who are teaching privates are happy to run the risk of a huge fine and deportation, then fair play to them... go nuts and make all the money you can.

Personally, I don't think the risk is worth it. We all came to Korea of our own volition, and I most certainly intend returning home the same way.
I am thankful I am still in Korea, but it was a close-run thing... and I wasn't consciously going out to work illegally. Yes most of you working privates will get away with it, but it's a safe bet that sooner or later one of you will get caught (only takes a jealous neighbour, ex-girlfriend etc) and you have to ask yourself - is having a deportation order on your record worth the money that you make? (especially considering most if not all that money will be taken in fines)

Please take the advice of one who has been run through the immigration mill - don't do it.
Or, if you must... be very, very careful Cool
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Aremus



Joined: 13 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In regards to privates... someone was saying there is a way of registering with the government so that they could be done legally, is this true? If so, how might this be done?
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mack the knife



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: standing right behind you...

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aremus,

the answer to your question is yes and no. yes, you can go to the ministry of education and get yourself registered. no, that doesn't mean you can tutor legally. immigration will still bust you. of course, you can claim igororance like phoenix did and most likely you will simply pay a fine.
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Mosley



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone mentioned something about how in Japan you "own the visa". That's partly true. You still can only legally work for the sponsor(i.e. your employer).In short, "privates" are technically illegal. The big difference between Japan & here is that in Japan if you leave your job for ANY reason(other than a crime being committed) you DO NOT lose your visa! You are free to go find another employer, be a bum, etc. If you find a new employer a "change of status" may be necessary for the original visa.
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Phoenix



Joined: 03 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to put this back to the top in case anyone hadn't read it, and hope it can provide information for people who are in the same situation I was in..
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