Recruiter In Korea

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Archive for February 2010

Spending on education up despite bad economy

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This is the everlasting truth on why Korea will always be a haven for economic refugees.  Parents will do anything here for their kids to be successful which I’m not saying is always a positive thing but at least their spending less on smokes and booze.

Spending on education up despite bad economy
February 11, 2010

Even the worldwide recession last year did not discourage Koreans’ passion to spend money on schooling, despite government efforts to tamp down the country’s private education fever.

On the other hand, spending on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes fell for the first time.

Household spending on education for the first time exceeded 40 trillion won ($38.5 billion) between the fourth quarter of 2008 and third quarter of 2009, according to the Bank of Korea.

Despite the economic downturn that started in late 2008, educational spending was 3.5 percent higher than the previous year when it stood at 39.1 trillion won.

This means that each household spent on average 2.4 million won last year, up from 2.3 million won of 2008.

Educational expenditures have been growing over the years. In 2005, spending on education amounted to 30.8 trillion won, which notched up to 32.9 trillion won in 2006 and 35.9 trillion won in 2007.

Spending on education accounted for 7.4 percent of total spending, the same as the previous year.

“Although the intention was good, the government’s effort in trying to ease the overheated spending on private education has been ineffective,” said Cindy Yu, a Daewoo Securities analyst. “Still, it is at this point too early to say the government policy has failed since it has only been two years and it will take time for consumers to accept it.”

Spending on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes during the same period retreated 0.5 percent to 13.9 trillion won. This is the first time that such spending has fallen since that data were first compiled in 1971. “The drop in alcoholic beverage and cigarette purchases is a result of the global economic downturn, which reduced the number of various gatherings including year-end parties,” said an official at the central bank.

Spending in other areas also fell as a result of the world economic downfall. Transportation spending was down 3.1 percent to 60.4 trillion won as more people stayed at home rather than traveling on the weekends.

People also tightened their spending for communications, which fell 1.5 percent to 23.7 trillion won. Buying fashion items including clothes and shoes dropped 1.1 percent to 27.6 trillion won.

By Lee Ho-jeong [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

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February 11, 2010 at 11:19 am

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Need some sleep….

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Sorry for not posting lately.  I’ve been caught up in my own work/world; it’s been pretty crazy lately but like I always say, it’s better to be busy in this climate than doing nothing at all.  Still find it hard to get up in the morning though.  Maybe it’s the crazy weather, who knows.  This whole month will be pretty busy.  August is definitely the busiest month and then it dies down all of a sudden in September and October.  November gets slight busy but then December and January are pretty easy.  Then from February the workload gradually increases to the summer rush.

Hopefully I’ll be able to give you guys some interesting tales…happy hunting~

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February 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

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Breaking News! Hagwons in Korea are not Reporting all Income!!!

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False advertising too which is just as surprising.

HT to Korea Beat for the article and translation of this shocking story.  Truth be told though, it’s probably not just hagwons that try to weasel out of reporting income.  I say ‘probably’ because I’m too lazy busy to look for hard facts at the moment but I think everyone here can concur.

New report blasts hagwon industry crimes

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I know that you all will just be shocked, shocked to read this.

#55-year old Mr. Choi, who runs a hagwon focussed on the entrance exams for specialized high schools, sends parents the billing information for curriculum materials and other expenses, asking them to pay cash to his employees rather than using bank transfers. Through this method he can hide W190 million from the government. Last year he was assessed W110 million in taxes after an audit.

#50-year old Mr. Park, who owns a science and math hagwon, charged over W1 million in lecture fees on a cash-only basis and deposited it in his wife’s bank account. The National Tax Service (국세청) assessed him a W100 millon tax bill for hiding W200 million in revenue that way.

#One arts hagwon in the Busan area put out false advertisements saying it had “the nation’s highest rate of admission to top arts programs” and received a warning from 공정거래위원회. A foreign language hagwon in Seoul was also caught falsely claiming to have a teacher certified by the Canadian government.

The state of affairs in the world of domestic hagwons, where illegal, quasi-legal, and unjust conduct is rampant, was revealed in a report published on the 2nd. Unjust actions that take advantage of the hearts of parents who want to send their children to good universities include tax evasion, of course, as well as inflated fees, operating without a license, and false advertising.

Audits conducted by the NTS uncovered W63.5 billion in hidden profits, leading to W26 billion in fines, an average of W190 million per business.

The NTS listed the three top ways hagwons attempt to avoid taxes: demanding high lesson fees be paid in lump-sum cash payments only; demanding payment for curriculum materials and other costs be made into employees’ bank accounts; and having supplemental lesson fees be paid in cash into the bank accounts of relatives.

The report found 15 hagwons who engaged in false advertising which failed to reveal lesson, use, and educational fees or how to obtain refunds.

One Seoul hagwon focused on university entrance exams was given a warning after opening its doors with a homepage saying “at least 45% of exam-takers nationwide selected”, “we have 180,321 social studies researchers and 143,142 science researchers in the 2010 schoolyear” followed by “our students score 20 points higher than the national average”.

Police enforcement actions uncovered 3,219 cases, involving 3,270 people, of unregistered hagwons and hagwon teachers doing private lessons. The 3,161 unregistered hagwons represented 98% of total cases. This includes cases such as a teacher who earned W8 million in lesson fees by teaching lessons to 67 high school students in Incheon without registering; a hagwon owner in Incheon who earned W210 million over five years by teachign 1,200 high school students without registering; and an unregistered engineering hagwon that earned W480 million — W2.07 million per student.

In Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, seven people were caught making excessive profits of W2.1 billion by operating an unregistered franchise hagwon.

Six teachers were caught running an illegal school. In Yecheon, in Gyeongsangbuk-do, they were caught running a school teaching various students at W200,000 per month from March 2007 to November of last year using middle school math teachers.

The crackdown on SAT hagwons by the Gangnam Office of Education in Seoul has found 27 schools that charged excessive fees, did not report the hiring and firing of teachers, or filed false paperwork with the government, leading to warnings, injunctions, and business susupensions.

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February 5, 2010 at 11:39 am

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Korean Consumers Turn Backs on Toyota

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I’m really into cars so I’m going to post this.  Because Toyota screwed up majorly on this one, the issue is being (relatively-speaking) bigger than it should be.  Car manufacturers constantly recall vehicles with issues ranging anywhere from faulty wipers to things more serious such as these haywire accelerator pedals on Camrys, RAV4s, Priuses (there’s more but I don’t remember).

Now I’m not downplaying this issue as there were a few deaths resulting in this including the family killed in California when their loaner ES350 went out of control.  Toyota’s biggest mistake was the time it took them to admit that there was even an issue.  Perhaps there were still riding the wave of becoming the world’s largest automaker, overtaking GM, with record sales last year (Camry is among the best-selling cars in the U.S. along with Corolla).

Okay, they messed up big time and they should have notified customers way before.  If they did, then they wouldn’t have to put a halt on selling cars which is obviously hurting them the most.  Recalls should have commenced immediately and this would likely be a non-issue by now.

That said, I like Toyotas (and Lexuses) and believe that they are quality cars.  The issue was pinpointed to the mechanical problem with the pedals to a group of cars sold in certain countries but other than that, they’re great cars.  I understand that some including the Korean consumers mentioned in the article would be weary of purchasing a Toyota or Lexus now even though the cars sold here don’t have that issue, but it wouldn’t definitely stop me from buying one in the future.

I’m sure that Hyundai, RSM, and Daewoo are loving this though.

Just my two cents.

Written by recruiterinkorea

February 5, 2010 at 11:22 am

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Check out this podcast

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I mentioned before that An Idiot’s Tale is one of my favourite ex-pat blogs here in Korea.  Now that the idiot’s wife and kids are out of town, he’s starting to do podcasts which are absolutely hilarious.  I listen to them in the afternoon while doing some admin stuff and writing emails.  He claims that once his family is back, he’ll stop doing the podcasts since his son will be using the computer.

Hey Idiot!  Don’t stop your podcast please!!!

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February 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

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Only 4 of 10 Koreans content with life quality

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This from the Korea Herald.  It doesn’t state what criteria was asked that resulted in the conclusion or did they just ask that single question:  Are you happy?

Not surprising though.  Maybe it’s just me but when I go to Japan, everyone seems to be smiling and a lot more happier that the grimness that you see around here.  I think unhappiness here starts when children are robbed of their social freedom from a very young age.

Only four out of 10 Koreans appear to be satisfied with the quality of their lives, a survey released Sunday by Citibank Inc. indicated and Yonhap News reported. According to the survey of 500 adults nationwide, just 43 percent of the respondents said they are somewhat or very satisfied with the current quality of their lives.

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February 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

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Immigrations Gets Easier for Professionals

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Is this suppose to be good news?

They did mention that ‘language instructors’ are part of the new simplified process however, there was no mention of E-2 visa holders in the mix, the biggest group of language instructors in Korea.  E-7 holders on the other hand have it good if they could get the F-2 visa.  Not too familiar with the other visa types though (too lazy to find out right now).

Drastically simplified immigration, exit and naturalization processes for foreigners start Monday to help outstanding foreign workers settle in Korea.

Companies seeking to invite foreign researchers or language instructors can make visa applications online around the clock all year round if they register with the government website (www.visa.go.kr) without having to visit the Immigration Office.

Under the new policy, foreign professionals who have been staying in the country on a E-1-E-5 or E-7 visa will be given an F-2 residence visa if they meet certain criteria according to individual points they acquire based on academic background and income. They will be given a permanent F-5 residence visa if there are no reasons for disqualification for three years.

Jeju island will trial immigration through investment in real estate, giving foreign nationals the right to stay there if they invest more than US$500,000 in a holiday home on the island. They will be given permanent residence if there are no reasons for disqualification for five years.

Issue of re-entry permits for foreigners married to Koreans and foreign students will also be simplified so they can freely travel between Korea and their home countries during their stay here. They can apply for unlimited readmission on the immigration website (www.immigration.go.kr) without having to visit the office and fees of W30,000-W50,000 (US$1=W1,157) will be waived.

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February 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

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