Ask Korea Law

Published by Chung & Partners Since 2008


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Having No Working Visa Does Not Mean You Have No Right Under Korean Civil and Labor Law

Recently a foreigner asked some questions to us regarding Korean employment law issues.  He has a problem in his Visa status here in Korea and the employer refused to pay some amount to him, a matter of quite frequent occurrence here in Korea, which I’m afraid of though.

Basically foreigners have the same rights as Koreans under Korean civil and/or labor law. Even though the employee does not  have a valid working Visa, it does not hinder him or her from executing his or her right under Korean law.

If the company has no justifiable cause to withhold the money earned by the employee, it constitutes a breach of contract and/or an unlawful act.  The employee can file a lawsuit against the company or put a provisional attachment on its assets.

Please note, however, that the company could threaten the employee saying “Unless you keep quiet, I’ll inform the Immigration office of your illegal stays in Korea and make you expelled!” as is often the case with vicious small entrepreneur in Korea.  Practically it is the primary reason that makes many foreigners working without visa hesitate to take legal Continue reading