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Legal to teach privates for free?
« on: July 14, 2012, 02:29:32 pm »
So my veterinarian is a really awesome dude. He helps me out immensely, all the time, translates stuff for me, is basically an incredible bro in terms of my life here in Korea. Today when I drop my dog off for grooming he takes me aside and says he has two kids, and can I teach them privately?

I break the news to him that I could get kicked out of the country if I do, and I'm basically a scaredy-cat... money isn't a big deal to me, but I really want to help him out. I feel like such a burden to him, I have to be the most annoying customer ever. Now I feel even more guilty because I ask so much of him and I can't do the thing he asked of me.

So I feel like I owe it to him to do something nice. I'd be willing to give them some lessons on a volunteer basis... Is it legal to teach his kids for free, or still illegal?


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 04:20:12 pm »
How would you prove you are  not getting paid for them?

Its a dangerous thing to do,and I think it is still technically illegal as they want you to go through hagwons that have ( supposedly) verifiable standards


  • Merryone
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Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 04:43:10 pm »
I know how you feel and its a question i've contemplated myself in the two years that I've been here. my guess is that it is not illegal, but like Deranged Ranger said, how would you prove that you are not getting paid?

I suggest that you try to do the 'big brother' thing. Have you heard of 'big brother'? its an organization in the states that allows one to become a big brother to foster kids. you can take the kid out to the park, the museum, etc, and do fun things with them. I would not suggest sitting in one location every week at the same time with a book and lesson plan, but if you take them places, and happen to teach them english while you are trying to communicate with them about things....like hey, we are in a library, don't run up and down!  well, who can fault you for acting like a big brother? especially when your vet is such a "bro" to you.

I don't know. be careful! good luck!


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 06:19:18 am »
So every teacher illegally doing privates has nothing to worry about because immigration  officials will never be witness to money changing hands? If this is true then cool, but that sounds too good to be true and (though I am not saying you are wrong,) without some link to proove of your claim, I don't beleive what you are saying.


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 11:48:13 am »
Considering the >90% of us who work at 1 PS or Hagwon only have a set income, it would be easy with slight investigative work.  Of course, you can always wire money over, but why would you transfer 200,000 every month?  It's traceable, regardless of bank transfers or physically depositing money. 

The question is, will Immigration actually "investigate"?  If it's one person, a friend, and free, it's probably allright.  I'm sure the ones that are punished are those that actively advertise and always have student's coming and going from their apartment and the same times.

Also, the moving analogy is a good way to put it logically.


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 11:08:09 am »
So every teacher illegally doing privates has nothing to worry about because immigration  officials will never be witness to money changing hands? If this is true then cool, but that sounds too good to be true and (though I am not saying you are wrong,) without some link to proove of your claim, I don't beleive what you are saying.

Which part don't you believe? That part about people being innocent until proven guilty? Or the part about most people not being caught?

They can catch you - if you're doing it illegally. If it's only cash changing hands then it's harder to prove. If you're being paid directly into your bank account, then it's a lot easier for them to prove that you're working illegally, especially if you have money coming in from several sources. Most illegal tutors (Koreans alike) get caught because someone sent immigration a tip off. A nosy neighbor, a local hogwon owner, another teacher, a former friend with an ax to grind. Still, most foreigners who are teaching illegally (whether on an E2, F series or tourist visa) get caught doing so at a hogwon.

If you want some numbers on the topic, here are a couple links.
http://briandeutsch.blogspot.ro/2010/02/korea-times-series-on-illegal-foreign.html
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/01/113_59940.html

Regarding whether or not it's illegal, check out the Seoul Global Center's website.
http://global.seoul.go.kr/
That's a government website and they have a page about how to do volunteer work.

Why do YOU think it's illegal to teach English for free? What are you basing this on? What law is actually being broken?




a) Of the teachers that are doing "outside teaching" how many are ACTUALLY doing it for free?

b) If an immigration official were to catch him what are the odds it would be believed that he is doing it for free?

That being said, this isn't a court of law, I hear of teachers constantly getting deported for teaching illegal privates, I do not know how many of these are ( as you sort of suggest) are caught red handed. I personally do not beleive that you can not be deported for "teaching illegla privates" if they dont actually "catch you"

Again, I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying without a concrete link to something, I dont buy it, and I wouldnt risk it. That's my personal preference. You could very well be right, but you could very well be wrong is all I'm saying






  • flasyb
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Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 11:45:35 am »
So every teacher illegally doing privates has nothing to worry about because immigration  officials will never be witness to money changing hands? If this is true then cool, but that sounds too good to be true and (though I am not saying you are wrong,) without some link to proove of your claim, I don't beleive what you are saying.

Which part don't you believe? That part about people being innocent until proven guilty? Or the part about most people not being caught?

They can catch you - if you're doing it illegally. If it's only cash changing hands then it's harder to prove. If you're being paid directly into your bank account, then it's a lot easier for them to prove that you're working illegally, especially if you have money coming in from several sources. Most illegal tutors (Koreans alike) get caught because someone sent immigration a tip off. A nosy neighbor, a local hogwon owner, another teacher, a former friend with an ax to grind. Still, most foreigners who are teaching illegally (whether on an E2, F series or tourist visa) get caught doing so at a hogwon.

If you want some numbers on the topic, here are a couple links.
http://briandeutsch.blogspot.ro/2010/02/korea-times-series-on-illegal-foreign.html
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/01/113_59940.html

Regarding whether or not it's illegal, check out the Seoul Global Center's website.
http://global.seoul.go.kr/
That's a government website and they have a page about how to do volunteer work.

Why do YOU think it's illegal to teach English for free? What are you basing this on? What law is actually being broken?




a) Of the teachers that are doing "outside teaching" how many are ACTUALLY doing it for free?

b) If an immigration official were to catch him what are the odds it would be believed that he is doing it for free?

That being said, this isn't a court of law, I hear of teachers constantly getting deported for teaching illegal privates, I do not know how many of these are ( as you sort of suggest) are caught red handed. I personally do not beleive that you can not be deported for "teaching illegla privates" if they dont actually "catch you"

Again, I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying without a concrete link to something, I dont buy it, and I wouldnt risk it. That's my personal preference. You could very well be right, but you could very well be wrong is all I'm saying

Nah, teaching illegal privates is pretty safe. We all do it from time to time. You just have to A) Keep your damn mouth shut. B) Take the money in cash before the lesson and C) Keep your damn mouth shut. + D) Don't do too many or open a mini-hagwon in your apartment - those are the people who get caught and hit the headlines. Follow advice A and C and you'll do fine.

I know loads of people who teach/have taught illegal privates and they've never been caught. In fact, like deranged ranger, I've only heard stories about people getting caught. Never actually seen it or known someone who got caught.

As for teaching legal privates - there is absolutely no problem with this whatsoever. Safe as houses. Just meet someone for a coffee and give them a free class (they pay for the coffee). If anybody asks, it's a language exchange, you're helping a friend, you're just a nice guy who gives free lessons to strangers etc (same excuses if anyone asks about the illegal private (and I mean anyone, immigration or your Korean friend's grandma)).

Deranged ranger's paranoia is excessive. You've got nothing to worry about by helping friends with their language studies. Anyone who suggests otherwise is out of their mind paranoid.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 03:33:49 pm »
I'm sure I read somewhere it's a visa issue about holding secondary employment without permission from your sponser. Employment doesn't have to be paid.

Then how would you define "employment"? Or more importantly, how does immigration define it?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 05:43:36 am by steveperry »


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 04:33:46 am »
So every teacher illegally doing privates has nothing to worry about because immigration  officials will never be witness to money changing hands? If this is true then cool, but that sounds too good to be true and (though I am not saying you are wrong,) without some link to proove of your claim, I don't beleive what you are saying.

Which part don't you believe? That part about people being innocent until proven guilty? Or the part about most people not being caught?

They can catch you - if you're doing it illegally. If it's only cash changing hands then it's harder to prove. If you're being paid directly into your bank account, then it's a lot easier for them to prove that you're working illegally, especially if you have money coming in from several sources. Most illegal tutors (Koreans alike) get caught because someone sent immigration a tip off. A nosy neighbor, a local hogwon owner, another teacher, a former friend with an ax to grind. Still, most foreigners who are teaching illegally (whether on an E2, F series or tourist visa) get caught doing so at a hogwon.

If you want some numbers on the topic, here are a couple links.
http://briandeutsch.blogspot.ro/2010/02/korea-times-series-on-illegal-foreign.html
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/01/113_59940.html

Regarding whether or not it's illegal, check out the Seoul Global Center's website.
http://global.seoul.go.kr/
That's a government website and they have a page about how to do volunteer work.

Why do YOU think it's illegal to teach English for free? What are you basing this on? What law is actually being broken?




a) Of the teachers that are doing "outside teaching" how many are ACTUALLY doing it for free?

b) If an immigration official were to catch him what are the odds it would be believed that he is doing it for free?

That being said, this isn't a court of law, I hear of teachers constantly getting deported for teaching illegal privates, I do not know how many of these are ( as you sort of suggest) are caught red handed. I personally do not beleive that you can not be deported for "teaching illegla privates" if they dont actually "catch you"

Again, I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying without a concrete link to something, I dont buy it, and I wouldnt risk it. That's my personal preference. You could very well be right, but you could very well be wrong is all I'm saying

Nah, teaching illegal privates is pretty safe. We all do it from time to time. You just have to A) Keep your damn mouth shut. B) Take the money in cash before the lesson and C) Keep your damn mouth shut. + D) Don't do too many or open a mini-hagwon in your apartment - those are the people who get caught and hit the headlines. Follow advice A and C and you'll do fine.

I know loads of people who teach/have taught illegal privates and they've never been caught. In fact, like deranged ranger, I've only heard stories about people getting caught. Never actually seen it or known someone who got caught.

As for teaching legal privates - there is absolutely no problem with this whatsoever. Safe as houses. Just meet someone for a coffee and give them a free class (they pay for the coffee). If anybody asks, it's a language exchange, you're helping a friend, you're just a nice guy who gives free lessons to strangers etc (same excuses if anyone asks about the illegal private (and I mean anyone, immigration or your Korean friend's grandma)).

Deranged ranger's paranoia is excessive. You've got nothing to worry about by helping friends with their language studies. Anyone who suggests otherwise is out of their mind paranoid.

Ironically when I lived In Korea, I taught privates, I have no high expecations that I was going to get caught, in fact I will submit that the odds of getting caught are extrememly low, what I am saying is IF CAUGHT, somehow, can you actually prove you are doing it for free, if its in the persons house behind closed doors, on a regular schedule. Language exchange ( ie a CONVERSATION at a cafe where you are not "TEACHING" them english is a far cry from a tutoring session)


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 12:43:20 am »
An opinion is an opinion because its not necessarilly based in fact, its based on opinion. That's why they call it AN OPINION!

I have said  more than once now that you may very well be right, but given the fickle nature of immigration and the fact that we are not citizens of the country, I am saying that you are potentially tempting fate to do so is all. Despite you saying "they need proof" what, there arent any crooked cops out there?

I simply said this isn't a court of law. If the official says "I caught him" what defense do you have? You are caught at the apartment of a student teaching him English will you be believed if you say " I wasn't being paid?" if the official lies and says that he saw you being paid?

So this is why I am havent answered your questions. They are outside my opinion.

BUt to humor you,  in regards to "what are you doing thats actually illegal", technically you are breaking your contract if you are on an E2 and teaching at somehwere that isnt your designated workplace ( since paid or unpaid you are still "teaching") And as I stated before we have certain standards that we are being held to when teaching here. When you are doing non registered teaching there's no evaluation process.  I have no idea if this matters in regards to what we are discussing.

And yes I have stated my opinion, yet you still try to convince me I am wrong and you are right when I have already conceeded that you could be right and I could be wrong . Then you grandstand and tell me that I don't need to continue repeating my opinion over and over again.  Love the irony.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 06:31:35 am by Deranged Ranger »


  • Morticae
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Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2012, 06:01:00 pm »
No problems.

I do full-scale lessons for my friend in public and private twice a week. And he does the same for me in Korean. Sometimes in a private place, sometimes in a public place. We're study buddies, it's not gainful employment.


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2012, 02:54:27 pm »
An opinion is an opinion because its not necessarilly based in fact, its based on opinion. That's why they call it AN OPINION!

I have said  more than once now that you may very well be right, but given the fickle nature of immigration and the fact that we are not citizens of the country, I am saying that you are potentially tempting fate to do so is all. Despite you saying "they need proof" what, there arent any crooked cops out there?

I simply said this isn't a court of law. If the official says "I caught him" what defense do you have? You are caught at the apartment of a student teaching him English will you be believed if you say " I wasn't being paid?" if the official lies and says that he saw you being paid?

So this is why I am havent answered your questions. They are outside my opinion.

BUt to humor you,  in regards to "what are you doing thats actually illegal", technically you are breaking your contract if you are on an E2 and teaching at somehwere that isnt your designated workplace ( since paid or unpaid you are still "teaching") And as I stated before we have certain standards that we are being held to when teaching here. When you are doing non registered teaching there's no evaluation process.  I have no idea if this matters in regards to what we are discussing.

And yes I have stated my opinion, yet you still try to convince me I am wrong and you are right when I have already conceeded that you could be right and I could be wrong . Then you grandstand and tell me that I don't need to continue repeating my opinion over and over again.  Love the irony.

Granted you said it's your opinion and you might be wrong yada yada yada... with the logic that you stated, I am breaking my contract every time I correct my Korean gf's grammar or pronunciation because that is teaching? I should be kicked out of the country for helping some one's English outside of my working area? Don't think so.

I guess the real word that should be better defined here is "teaching."


Re: Legal to teach privates for free?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2012, 04:25:35 am »
Of course this isnt teaching and most peoples common sense would make the distinction I am making.

And your girlfriend is a different kind of person when compared to "my dentists kids" whom, youd have ZERO association with outside of teaching them english.

As I said, "teaching" is when your sol interface with someone is predicated on educating them on a subject, cracking grammar books etc.

A "conversation" is something to be done with freinds and is not the crux of the relationship.

BUt if his dentist starts ( or is) giving him deals on denistry because he startsteaching his kids, are we also not moving into "getting paid" territory ( which is different from your girlfriend giving you sex, which is not coming from the "lessons" you provide by correcting her grammar