Today I went to downtown Daegu to the pensions department (don't know the actual name) to ask a few questions. Usually around this time in an ESL teachers contract you go there to sort out your pension and pick up a significant amount of money which you've been paying and had matched by your employer.
Being from the UK I knew that no such pension agreement existed but I still went with my wife to see where I stood, because I have been paying contribution for forty four months and that's a lot of money not coming my way. And the answer is this - There is still no pensions agreement between Korea and the UK. This means that as things stand the money I have paid into the system is not mine and I am not entitled to get it back. I am not entitled to it now and I am not entitled to it even when I retire.
We spoke to a nice lady there but she wasn't much help. In fact to get answers to our questions she had to make a series of phone calls. Until some kind of agreement is made between the two countries I will not be able to get to 'my money'. Even if an agreement happens I do not know if things will be backdated. We were told that the only people from the UK that can get the pension money are E8, E9 and H2 visa holders.
I asked if, 'I cannot get the money who gets it and where does it go?' The answer was complicated because it was translated through my wife but she said the answer does not make sense and seemed to suggest that the money will not stay in the system but instead go elsewhere. I was unsatisfied with this answer. I left with more questions than answers so I'm going to write to my local MP when I get back home.