Now, Restaurants and Hotels in South Korea Can Apply For Employment Permits For Foreign Workers Holding E-9 Visas

Starting From April 22, 2024, E-9 Visa Holders Will Be Allowed To Work In Korean Restaurants, Hotels, And Condos

Starting from April 22, 2024, E-9 visa (a type of work visa in South Korea designed for non-professional foreign workers) holders will be allowed to work in Korean restaurants, hotels, and condos. Building cleaners and kitchen assistants can be recruited in four areas: Seoul, Busan, Gangwon, and Jeju. 

Until now, Korean restaurants could only hire ethnic Koreans from China with visiting employment visas (H-2) or students with study visas (D-2). However, from now on, they can apply to employ foreign workers, including those from Southeast Asia, who enter with E-9 visas.

How Is The Korean Restaurant Industry Reacting?

Among the Korean restaurants in major areas, they can hire up to two workers from E-9 visa holders with certain business experience (5-7 years depending on the number of Korean employees). However, contrary to the demands of the restaurant industry, the government has restricted their duties to kitchen assistance only, prohibiting them from serving and cashiering tasks. While employment officials cited language barriers as the reason, restaurant owners expressed disappointment, citing severe shortages in serving staff.

How About The Hotel Industry‘s Response?

Many argue that the application process is too demanding. The employment of foreign workers with E-9 visas in hotels and condos is limited to four areas: Seoul, Busan, Gangwon, and Jeju. Each establishment can hire up to 25 building cleaners and kitchen assistants. However, to apply for employment permits, hotels must directly employ foreign workers. Since most hotels operate with various subcontractors for staffing, direct employment is considered challenging within the industry.

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