South Korea Working Holiday: Guide for Canadians

Squid Game, Parasite and K-pop have all contributed to the increase in South Korea’s popularity as a travel destination for Canadians in recent years. What is there not to love? With exciting cuisine such as Yangnyeom Chicken, Korean BBQ and Kimchi, this East Asian gem is a foodie’s paradise. Why not learn the lingo, embrace the culture and earn some won while living there for a full year on a South Korea Working Holiday? Stepabroad is here to help with the transition, so read on for everything you need to know about obtaining your work permit.

On a South Korean Working Holiday, you can work in one of the most futuristic cities in the world, Seoul.

Why Move to South Korea from Canada

Living in South Korea is very different from life in Canada. One of the most futuristic nations in the world, South Korea still remains a land steeped in tradition – wherein lies the charm. See our top reasons to move to South Korea from Canada:

1. Quality of Life

South Korea has a reasonable cost of living and excellent health care facilities. For those concerned about crime, Seoul has ranked as one of the ten safest cities in the world for both foreigners and locals alike. Public transit is reliable and efficient, and the food is amazing!

2. Learn Korean

Some of the best entertainment in recent years has come out of Korea, and their movie industry is thriving. By learning Korean, you will be able to impress your friends by watching the latest release without subtitles. You may also learn to pick up on the subtle references that don’t always translate directly to English!

3. Expand your palate

Try authentic Korean fried chicken, Bibimbap, Jajangmyeon and many more during your stay in South Korea. In Korea, food is considered medicine and healthy eating is an important part of day-to-day life. Most meals are not only delicious but also designed to be healthy and nutritionally balanced. Dining in Korea is a social event, with most plates being communal and designed for sharing – so there is no need to restrict yourself to one choice.

4. Explore Asia

With easy access to Japan, China, Taiwan & South East Asia, South Korea is a convenient base for exploring other destinations in Asia. Seoul airport is a major hub, and cheap flights are readily available for those looking for a nearby adventure.

Foodies rejoice! South Korea has some of the best cuisines in the world (fact).

How to move to South Korea from Canada

Before you move from Canada to South Korea, you will need to obtain a South Korea Working Holiday Visa. This visa is made possible via the Youth Mobility Agreement between Canada and South Korea, which allows up to 4,000 Canadians to live and work in South Korea each year. You can apply in person through the Embassy in Ottawa or at a Consulate in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal a few months before you plan to depart.

South Korea: where futuristic cities meet 5000 years of culture and history.

Benefits of a Working Holiday Visa in South Korea

The South Korean Working Holiday Visa allows you to live in South Korea for up to one year, and work part-time to support yourself during your stay. You do not need to have a job pre-arranged before you depart, and Canadians can work in most types of temporary employment during their stay.

South Korea is characterized by beautiful mountain ranges, dense forests and a wild coastline. Not forgetting ski mountains when winter calls. It's the whole package.

Employment Options in South Korea for Canadians

With an annual limit of 1,300 hours of employment (25 hours per week), the most common roles available for foreigners in South Korea are temporary or casual positions. Although your language skills are an important factor when looking for work, your previous transferable skills and experiences will affect the roles that you will be able to apply for in South Korea. Popular industries for Canadians in South Korea to find employment include farm work, manual labour, catering, food service, tourism and retail. With a reasonable understanding of Korean, more opportunities will open up in other fields, such as administration and other office positions.

South Korea Working Holiday Visa Requirements

To be eligible to submit an application for a South Korea Working Holiday Visa, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Canadian citizen and currently living in Canada
  • Between 18 – 30 years old at the time of application (inclusive until just before your 31st birthday)
  • Have a valid Canadian passport with at least 13 months remaining
  • Hold sufficient funds to support yourself upon arrival in the country
  • No children or financially dependent relatives
  • Adequate health insurance to cover the duration of your visa
  • Must book a return flight to Canada, or have additional funds for a return ticket
You can almost taste your South Korea Working Holiday...

First steps towards obtaining a Working Holiday Visa in South Korea

It is best to begin the application process at least three months before your anticipated departure date. You will need to prepare the following documents to be eligible to apply:

  • Visa application form
  • A valid passport and one passport photo
  • Supporting financial documentation showing at least $4000 CAD
  • Health insurance policy summary that covers the full duration of your stay
  • Return flight ticket (or one-way flight and additional funds to purchase a return journey)
  • Outline of your travel plans
  • Criminal record check
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of highest academic qualifications
  • Payment for processing fees
We challenge you to find a more beautiful backdrop than South Korea's temples during fall...

The Visa Application Process

Once your documents are ready, you will need to send your application by mail or attend in person, depending on your location in Canada. After you’ve sent everything off, your application should be processed within two to three weeks. Once your application has been approved, you should enter Korea within three months of your visa approval date.

Please note: If you plan to stay in Korea for more than 90 days, you must register with the immigration office in the appropriate area within 90 days of entry.

Want to Learn More?

Interested in learning more about applying for a working holiday in South Korea? Get in touch for updates on our future services in South Korea.