A couple of years ago we took a look at the number surrounding E2 Visas in South Korea. E2 Visas are given to people teaching their native language (mostly English) in South Korea. The numbers dropped 5 years ago following the ESL boom in South Korea but numbers seem to have evened out over the past year or so. (Previous Post With 2012 Statistics)

We’re going to look at a tiny section of the Immigration Statistics from here in South Korea. Every year the South Korean Government releases a 900+ page report (mostly in Korean) regarding Immigration and related numbers and statistics. Some (most) is bureaucratic filler but there is also some interesting information. In the past (less so these days) people made comments regarding the number of foreigners or the number of teachers within Korea but often without the stats and facts to back it up.

Where do English Speaking E2 Teachers Come From?


As you might expect there are more North American E2 Visa holders than any other nation, The USA totaled 8127 or 56%. Canada is second with 17%, followed by the UK with 12%. South Africans account of 8%, with Ireland, Australia and New Zealand the rest.


The overall total is 14,533, with the ratio of males to females being pretty even.

E2 Visa Numbers 2015 vs. 2012

Our previous post used numbers from the 2012 Immigration Report, and when you look at that vs. 2015 there are a few above conclusions;

  • The overall total has dropped.
  • Every nations total is lower as are each gender.
  • The Gender Ratio is a lot closer than before, with a bigger drop in the number of male teachers.
  • Percentage wise Ireland saw the biggest drop, around 50% fewer hires.
  • Numbers wise American males saw the biggest drop, 2000 less than 3 years ago.

Full 2012 E2 Visa Numbers (male first/females second);

American 6055 | 5108
Canadian 1888 | 1680
British 1608 | 787
South African 648 | 1004
Irish 418 | 247
New Zealand 283 | 197
Australian 254 | 137

E2 Visa Holders from Non-English Speaking Nations 2015

Of course there are E2 visa holders from other nations. Most come from either China or Japan, there are the following:

China = 1131 (over 90% of which are Female) – Up From 2012 (876)
Japan = 167 (again mostly Female) – Down From 2012 (279)

The only other nations with more than ten E2 Visa Holders are:
France = 33 (2012 – 29)
Germany = 20 (2012 – 22)
Russia = 31 (2012 – 20)
Spain = 20 (2012 – 13)
Taiwan = 13 (new)
A number of other E2 Visa holders come from other nations, but normally just 1 or 2.

Overall there are 1,455 Non-English Speaking E2 Visa Holders up a few hundred from 2012, but is now 10% of the total. Before it was around 5%. This shows a drop in English teachers and a slight gain in other languages.

Also as we’ve received countless emails over the past two years, there are still Zero E2 Holders from the following: Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria or Hong Kong. Just like last time sorry if this comes as bad news, other visa types exist to cater for different skills.



The statistical information is available for free in PDF form via the Korean Immigration Website (CLICK HERE), it’s best to use the Korea side of the site and via IE. Also the statistics used in this article are from the 2015 report. Please keep in mind the report is over 1000 pages long and a little confusing in places.


As always if you have any questions related to E2 Visas, Korean Immigration or Teaching in Korea please feel free to let us know. Either below, by Email or via Twitter or Facebook. However for more statistics please download the report and research the primary data directly.

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