This page is for listing concrete facts and statistics about the ESL (English as a second language) industry in Korea. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the rules regarding this industry and standardizing the facts surrounding it will make for a good resource.

Numbers[edit | edit source]

  • Number of English teachers in Korea: According to the Immigration Bureau's Statistical Yearbook, 10,862 E-2 visas were granted in 2004. This number has remained basically constant over the past 3 years. E-2 visas are specifically for instructors in conversational language (회화지도). Of the visa holders, the great majority came from the major English-speaking countries. Some other countries producing E-2 visa holders were China (439), Japan (385), France (35), Germany (36), and Italy (5). The yearbook, along with others from recent years, can be downloaded as an Alzip file from the Immigration Bureau's Korean website.

Dates[edit | edit source]

  • Private lessons were made illegal in Korea in (insert date). Reason:It activates a deep-seated bad feeling in the average Korean that the playing field is not level for rich and poor. Add to that the media reports in the late nineties about the huge amounts of money parents were forced to pay tutors to 'keep up with the Kims'- we're not talking only about English lessons, either - math and science, music and other fields probably have more tutors than language learning.
  • The 2005 Asian EFL Journal Conference & Law Forum was held in Busan on May 14th, 2005.

It is, however, legal for Korean nationals to have private tutoring jobs. This is a significant source of income for some Korean university students (mostly graduate level). The going rate for private lessons (June 2005) is around 50USD per hour.

Types of English teaching positions available can be found at .[edit | edit source]

Other facts[edit | edit source]

  • Only people from seven major English speaking countries (USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland) may obtain E-2 visas (citation needed). However, teachers with a North American accent are prefered and they get the better jobs. A recent hiring at a prominent university in Seoul employed 50% Canadian teachers, 40% American teachers, and 10% other (citation needed).

Other nationalities can get an E2 visa, but they must teach a language related to their nationality, if they are to be language teachers. E2 visas are primarily, but not only for language teaching. Members of other professions also get E-2 visas. The seven countries listed above are those that qualify one to teach English on an E2 visa.

Comments by the Korean government on the ESL industry[edit | edit source]

Groups pertaining to the ESL industry in Korea[edit | edit source]

  • EFL-Law - EFL law for a number of countries including Korea.
  • ( - Korean Organization of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
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