Recruitment in South Korea

Recruitment in South Korea: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in South Korea? 


Not currently.

What is the cost of a Work Permit in South Korea?


How long does it take to get a work permit in South Korea?


What is the estimated net retention in South Korea for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?

*update pending

What is the estimated net retention in South Korea for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?


Read more about the work permit process.

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Recruitment in South Korea can be a challenge, but you don’t have to drown in time-consuming admin just to place a candidate. You can simplify complications by using an Umbrella Company (or “contractor management company”), as long as you pick the right one.

Skip ahead to find out how we can help you place candidates faster, or simply read on to find out more about the specific issues you’ll face.

Placing a new contractor in South Korea: what are the challenges?


Recruiting in South Korea generally requires a lot of complex admin duties, and contractors might end up paying too much in taxes or failing to comply with South Korea tax law. It’s important to know what kind of concerns you’ll be facing.

  • Double taxation: Contractors can incur a tax liability in both their home country and in South Korea. Many countries have agreements that mitigate this type of issue, but whether or not you can take advantage of them will depend on factors like the length of the contractor’s stay, or the laws of the contractor’s home country. You can learn more about double taxation here (note: this info was written with respect to the UK, but the general concepts will still apply).
  • Withholding tax: If a foreign company is used to provide services overseas, the payments made to that company by the South Korea client could be liable for withholding tax under South Korea tax law. Find out more about withholding tax.
  • Individual taxation and tax residency: A contractor’s tax liability will often be determined by his or her residency status in their home country and in South Korea. Figuring out their tax residency can be difficult and is often tied to the length of their stay in South Korea (or out of their home country). Read more about tax residency and individual tax liability here.
  • Permanent establishment: Most double taxation agreements limit the scope of taxation in the host country by providing that a business is only taxable in another state if it has a permanent establishment in that state. A permanent establishment is a fixed base such as a branch, office, factory, workshop, mine or oil well. To find out how to avoid permanent establishment and unnecessary tax liability, read more about the issue.

Work permits

Contractors will need to find a sponsored work permit, which can be difficult and may seriously slow the placement process. Additionally, they’ll need a new permit for each new contract, spawning even more paperwork.

See our FAQ to find out more about the cost and processing time of South Korea work permits.

Why use a contractor management company?

An efficient way to manage these problems is to outsource them to a contractor management company. They’ll act as the contractor’s “employer,” handling all of their invoicing, fees, and social security. As South Korea tax experts, they also help contractors comply with local tax law while maximising the amount they get to keep.

A quicker, better recruitment process: Working with an Umbrella Company means saving time, effort, and resources. Higher earnings and a smoother transition also make contracting a more attractive opportunity, helping you place candidates more quickly and successfully.

Still, you’ll need to find the right company for you and your candidate.

How to find the right Umbrella Company?

Making sense of the optionsFor free, we match contractors with Umbrella Companies and can help dramatically reduce waiting times. There are numerous Umbrella Companies in South Korea and each has its own specialties, services, and payment structures. Choosing the right one is crucial, but it can be difficult when you’re facing a bunch of unfamiliar options.

We’ve developed an extensive database of these companies. We can guide you through your options and help connect you with the best company for you and the contractor.

Get in touch: If you want straightforward, honest advice on recruitment in South Korea, we’re easy to contact. Call, e-mail, or chat with us online - for free.

Send your details for more information

Work Permits & Payroll - Frequently Asked Questions

Not currently.

What documentation is required for a South Korea work permit?


What is the work permit process in South Korea?


Can you transfer from a Business Visa to a Work Permit in South Korea?


Can we organise Business Visas in South Korea?


How long does it take to process a Business Visa in South Korea?

5 to 7 days.

How much does a Work Permit cost in South Korea?

$300 USD.

Can nationals of certain countries enter South Korea without a Business Visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?

Yes. People from countries under the Visa Exemption Agreement and those from countries under the Principles of Reciprocity & National Interest. The list is found here.  


What is the monthly cost to run a local payroll in South Korea?


How does payroll work in South Korea?

Taxes and social security are deducted at source and paid to the local authorities by the employer.




Client comment

"Great advice and excellent service on contracting and immigration solutions in the UK. I would highly recommend Tim and the team to assist you with accurate, clear and concise contracting advice in the UK or any other country for that matter."

Prishen Pillay,Global DBA Operations Lead

Shell International Trading & Shipping