Repayment of Recruiter Fee


Does anybody have the low-down on whether or not I - as an ESL instructor- would have to pay back the recruiter fee if I break my contract early (after 6 months)?

I have tried to find information in the labor standards contract guff, but without luck. I understand that the labor standards override individual contracts between hagwons and instructors. This being the case, even if the contract specifies I have to repay the recruiter fee, do I really have to?


Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

Of course not!  The fee is between the school & the recruiter, nothing to do with you.


Tel the recruiter to go pee in the wind - it is talking complete nonsense.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

Check the contract please.Usually, you should have to pay back the flight and recruiter fee before 6 months if you quit early.Make sure you get the famous release letter. If they let you go, I think it's 14 days to notify Immigration.Make sure you dot all of your Is, and cross the Ts mate, or visa versa.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

Check your contract but usually the recruiter has to replace you free if you finish before 6 months.  A repayment clause for this "fee" is just another form of hagwon fraud, much like calling employees independent contractors.  It isn't racist they steal from their Korean employees too.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

Contract is moot, read the labor act... as many of us who have been here longer than a season have had to do. If I knew off the top of my head I would tell you but I cannot remember. As I recall they cannot force you to pay anything back, but I could be wrong.

But more importantly they do not have to give you a letter of release, and if they don't then you cannot work again untill your contract expires.

This last part can vary, I have heard stories where the LOR did not matter and others that it did. So weather you pay may come down to the LOR and not the law about the leagality of your requirment to pay...

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

Once upon a time I read the labor act several times. Some parts more than others(my undergrad is in Business HR). 

The Korean act is very similar to the U.S. labor standards act in many areas of law, and it accords the same standards to foreign workers as native Korean workers.

But as I said in my post, what the law is, and what you will be able to do, will often be decided by what the employer asks from you in order to give you the letter of release(so you can get your next job).

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

FYI- there are globally understood work practices in HR. A basic one is to finish your contract. Many dweebs jump ship to better jobs, and not in a good way. The standard practice is to pay Hakwon back . Namely the flight and recruiter fee before 6 months. I think it's a good idea. If you had to read them several times, as you say, I'm sorry. "Weather" or not you understand them is debatable.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

It may be in the terms of the mployment agreement that you'll need to do so.  That is often the case if you don't serve a minimum length of the agreement.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

Slow down simple mind... FYI, who uses that?

We do not know what the OP's situation is, as for me, I was being cheated and decided not to put up with it, I.E. working more than I was being paid for. In my 9+ years experience with Korea, and friends in Korea and Korean wife, it is common to be asked to work for "free". 

Example: "Can you do this class please, it will just be this one time." And then you end up doing it for the next three months.

It hurts the students if you refuse so you just do it and then when paycheck time comes you are wondering why they did not pay overtime. We can argue who is correct but it does not matter.

The reality is back to the same issue I have now mentioned twice before and will outline for you again, LOR is more important than legality of the contract or legality of the actions of the school director.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

 In my 9+ years experience with Korea, and friends in Korea and Korean wife, it is common to be asked to work for "free".- ok, whatever you say mate.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

I have noticed your, can't think of anything good to say, don't have any real position to back up, just post a comment for the sake of posting style. 

And I have to say I like it...

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

If it's in the contract, the labor board will side with the school. If it's not in the contract, you don't legally have to pay it. I would never sign a contract with a recruitment repayment clause, but if you're desperate for the job then you're going to sign just about anything.

Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee


Article 22 (Labor Contract contrary to This Act)

  • (1)A labor contract which establishs conditions of employment which do not meet the standards provided for in this Act shall be null and void to that extent.

  • (2)Those conditions invalidated in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (1) shall be governed by the standards provided herein.



Article 27 (Prohibition of Predetermination of Nonobservance)

An employer shall not enter into any contract by which a penalty or indemnity for possible damages incurred from nonobservance of a labor contract is predetermined.


Simply put, a contract cannot set damages against an employee for the employer by non observance of the contract. How this is interpreted in Korea could be another matter.



Re: Repayment of Recruiter Fee

Like I said initially!  Tell your recruiter to pee in the wind!

I  felt initially it was the recruiter telling you this & I still do.  There is absolutley no reason to pay the fee.

Most 'smart schools' pay half of a 'recruiter'  fee initially when an employee takes employment, the second half is paid after the 6 month point.  This acts in both parties interests.  Any contract which states you are liable for recruiters fee is not legal.

Anything else is between the school & the 'recruiter'.  I know several recruiters & this has become common practice.

Just tell the recruiter to go whistle, pee in the wind or jungle frogs - theres absolutely no way that you have to pay the fee.

It seems to be another case of a recruiter out to rip people off.

PM me if you need clarification from reputable recruiters.