We’ve covered this topic a couple of times before, once with the statistics from 2013 and again for 2015. At the moment the only numbers available via Korean Immigration are from 2017 and so those are the numbers we’ll be using today.
Once again if you want to look at all of the numbers from the 1000+ page document it’s available via the Immigration Website (http://www.immigration.go.kr/immigration/index.do)
How many E2 Visa Holders are in South Korea?
The numbers from 2017 show that Americans make up the majority of E2 Visa Holders. Canada, the UK and now South Africa all register high numbers. Whilst only a few hundred come from Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.
2015 vs. 2017
Overall the numbers have dropped from 14,533 in 2015 to 12,962 in 2017, which is roughly 6%. That’s a sharp drop in only two years. It’s only mainly male visa holders who’ve lost out, as there are now more female E2 Visa holders then male. Females have only dropped by around 200, and British and South African females have seen their numbers increase. South African male teachers have bucked the trend and increased in the past couple of years.
The 2015 numbers
Why are the numbers falling?
A fall in overall demand is a key factor. Many employers are preferring to hire F series visa holders, as they don’t require housing or flights and of course sponsorship. Also public schools now don’t teach first and second grade at the moment, which is could also be a factor. However overall a fall in demand especially in public school has been the main reason.
Other Nationals on E2 Visas?
As pointed out in previous posts yes there are some. They are still mainly from China and Japan, with a handful from Spain, France and Germany. The demand for Chinese is growing in Korea, whilst English is staying the same or falling.
Any thoughts, comments or questions. Feel free to comment below or message me via Twitter.
Thank you for posting this information, it’s very informative and gives a great deal of insight into how the field of TESOL/EFL is changing in Korea. I’ve tried looking this info up myself on the immigration website and could not find it.
I look forward to more data compilations in the future, and would respectfully suggest that at some point you show trends for the last 5, 10, and/or 20 years, and what they infer about future possible trends. Might even be good to throw an interview with someone thats been teaching for a while (10+ years) and what trends they’ve noticed.
Personally, I lived in Busan from 2012 – 2015, and there was a pretty thriving community of English teachers at that time. Spoke with a friend last year about his return visit, and he said that it seemed there were far fewer English teachers these days. I think this lines up with the data you pulled form the immigration website (2012 had over 20,000 e2 visas, 2015 14,000+, 2017 has just under 13,000).
My personal take: between the struggling economy, plummeting birth rates, and pandemic shock, these numbers are going to fall deep into four digit territory, if they haven’t already. The next ten years will probably show a significant downsizing of the industry overall.
Anyways, thanks again for posting this information!
I agree a trends post comparing years would be interesting. I’ve only done this twice, so maybe I’ll be another one in the future including a comparison.