How to Work in South Korea as a Direct Hire Worker (No Agency)

If you are a Filipino who wants to work in South Korea or another country, you are required by law to process your employment with a POEA-accredited agency. This is to avoid human trafficking and work-related abuse issues. However, if you qualify, you can also try applying as a Direct Hire worker or someone who has arranged his or her own employment abroad (from job search, contract verification, and securing POEA approval). Below you can refer to the steps if you are interested, but if you’d like to receive more guides about working in Korea, as well as travel deals and announcements, sign up on our mailing list below 👇

1. See if you can register as a Direct Hire OFW

By law, no company or individual can hire a Filipino national for overseas employment. Hence, the first step to become a Direct Hire OFW is to check if you can be exempted from this Ban on Direct Hire (Article 18 of the Labor Code of the Philippines). According to the POEA Memorandum Circular No. 08, Series of 2018, those who may be exempted from the ban are as follows:

  • Members of diplomatic corps and international organizations
  • Heads of states and governments
  • Professionals and skilled workers*
  • Workers hired by a relative or family member who is a permanent resident of the host country, except domestic workers (live-in caregiver or household service worker)

*In South Korea, professional and skilled worker jobs include but are not limited to: business manager, education administrator, insurance and finance manager, design manager, ICT manager, sales manager, social science researcher, data expert, architect, civil engineering expert, web developer, engineer, university lecturer, nurse, international sales executive, etc.

If you are not qualified to apply as a direct-hire worker in Korea, you may check if you’re eligible to apply for the Employment Permit System (EPS), which is done through a POEA-accredited agency. Read this guide to learn more: 5 Basic Steps to Work in Korea Under EPS

2. Find your employer

young annoyed female freelancer using laptop at home
How to work in South Korea as a Filipino.

Once you were able to confirm that you can apply as a Direct Hire OFW, it’s now time to find your employer. Many successful direct hire workers were able to find a job through their network (referral by friends or family) or by searching online. This will be one of the most challenging steps, but stay patient.

(You will have to disclose through an affidavit how you were able to secure your employment, so make sure to document the process. Take note of how you were able to find the company, the date/s of your interview/s, etc.)

Also read: 5 Job Sites to Visit If You’re Looking for Work in South Korea

3. Get visa approval

korean flag hanging outside a house

Your employer will have to go to MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to apply for your visa (most likely E-7 visa). If successful, your employer will receive your visa grant notice, which you will then have to bring to the Embassy of Korea in Taguig or the Consulate of Korea in Cebu, along with the other requirements (includes tubercolosis exam result).

ALSO READ: How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa: Requirements & Process in the Philippines

4. Have your contract verified

agreement blur business close up

After getting your job offer and visa, you will have to go through the employment contract verification process. If you’ll work in Korea, this involves the following parties: POLO-Korea (Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Korea), MOFA, and POEA in the Philippines.

Here’s an overview of what will happen:

  • Your employer will have to go to POLO-Korea Office to have your contract checked. It is imperative that your contract meets the standards of the Philippine government, i.e. your employer agrees to pay for the costs of your travel, accommodation, repatration, among others.
  • Your employer must then go to MOFA to have your contract authenticated.
  • When these are done, your employer will have to go back to POLO-Korea to submit the authenticated contract. POLO will then send the contract to your address in the Philippines.

Learn more about living in South Korea

Use WAUG to check out the restaurants, classes, and attractions to visit in Seoul, Busan, and Jeju! 🇰🇷

5. Visit POEA and get your Overseas Employment Certificate

The final step is to go to POEA. Here you will have to bring your verifed contract (among other requirements) and get your Overseas Employment Certificate (or OEC) as a Direct Hire. The process includes two phases (2 working days), and expect a waiting time in between.

Some of the requirements to get an OEC include a valid medical certificate (with test results), attending a seminar, affidavit on how you obtained your employment, previous certificates of employment, school records, and others.

aircraft wing

Once you have your OEC — congratulations, you’re good to start your Direct Hire OFW journey!

Also read: South Korea Budget Guide & Tips to Help You Count the Cost

How to Make the Most of Your Time in South Korea

If you’ll work in Korea, you may want to use WAUG so you can save money on restaurants, classes, tours, and other activities!


While you’re waiting in the Philippines, you can also use WAUG to book exciting activities in these areas:

Also read: 7 Things You’ll Like About WAUG — Korea’s Best Travel App

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