In most cases, I would recommend completing your contract but there are times when the situation is beyond "sucking it up".
In this article, I will simplify the ways in which to quit your job with the least amount of resistance. This will apply to those under "sponsored" visas such as the "E visa".
Your employment contract states that you MUST work until the termination date of the contract. Afterward, you are free to seek new employment.
Option 1 - Release Letter
If you can not wait until your contract termination date and must quit earlier, you MUST get a "Letter of Release" from your employer. They are not obligated to give you this letter.
When it comes to letters, I always suggest creating a prefilled letter for them to sign and stamp, if you simply request it, they will never get around to typing it.
Important - I would suggest trying to find another job asap so that you can transfer your employer within one month of being released. Your new employer and Korean Immigration will request a copy of this "Release Letter".
Option 2 - No Release Letter - Labor Board Help
If they will NOT give you a "Release Letter", you should determine whether your grounds for quitting are valid enough for the labor board to approve your termination.
Employers may request payback for certain expenses accrued when hiring employees such as lodging, flights, etc. In good faith, you should pay back expenses if you have not fulfilled your contract this may help with receiving your release letter.
Option 3 - Run like the wind
There have been cases where people simply leave the country. If you don't plan on returning, it would be the easiest option. Just relinquish your ARC card upon departure at the airport.
If you plan on returning, option 1 is the best method. If you aren't properly released from your employer they could still be listed as your sponsor until your original visa expires, which means you may have to wait up to 13 months before reapplying for another visa. Moreover, that could be a reason to deny your next visa request.
I recommend finishing your contract or getting a release letter. Teaching at any employer under one year is normally a red flag for recruiters.
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