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Excerpted from the Korea Career Guide

Cost of Living

The appreciation of the Korean won and the concurrent devaluation of the Japanese yen have made it a costly city for expats. It’s not only the most expensive city in Korea, but it ranks among the most costly regionally and globally


Not surprisingly, Seoul’s housing market is the least affordable in South Korea. The most affordable housing in the country can be found in Ulsan and Guanju.


Domestic travel across South Korea is relatively easy and inexpensive. Short domestic airline flights connect the major cities

Medical Care/Health Insurance

South Korea has excellent medical care with state-of-the-art equipment and high quality service, especially in the larger cities such as Pusan and Seoul. In fact, South Korea is becoming an increasingly important medical tourism destination.

Work Schedules and Holidays

Although the number of work hours is declining, Koreans still put in more hours than workers in most other countries. South Koreans work 2,092 hours per year, 420 hours more than the average of workers in countries that belong to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).


South Korea has a flat 10 percent Value Added Tax (VAT), or sales tax. This is levied on the sale of goods and services in Korea and on imported goods.

Social Security and Pension

To qualify for a full pension, a retiree must be at least 61 years old with at least 20 years of contributions to the pension program; the age requirement will rise gradually to 65 by 2034. There is a reduced pension for those aged 61 with ten to 19 years of coverage and monthly income not exceeding 1,981,975 KRW.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete South Korea Guide.

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