The Spring and Summer months bring many beautiful things to China... nicer weather, flowers blooming, fresh vegetables, beautiful girls in short-shorts and high heels, etc., however, it also brings snakes and other nefarious creatures emerging and crawling out of their winter lairs looking and rushing for something to feed on. It could be you!
Those veteran foreigners initiated in the enormous Chinese ESL teaching industry do not need to read on. This is old news to them. This is intended for the uninitiated, or newbie foreigners abroad or newly arrived in China looking for employment in the ESL teaching industry.
Just like in nature, the spring and summer months initiate a rush by legitimate educational institutions, regardless of public or private schools, children or adult schools, to recruit suitable teachers for the summer and Fall Semester in addition to their ongoing needs for teachers.
Unfortunately, it also brings the Jack Me Hoff Agents, low-life opportunistic snakes/vermin/sharks and otherwise low-lifes posing as Teacher Recruiting Agents. They are usually Chinese snakes/agents, but there are the foreign snakes as well.
I am in no way maligning the legitimate long-time professional and legitimate Agents such as the Chinese/Australian owned Horizon Recruitment Company in Shenyang or professional HR recruitment/headhunter companies. These company's are usually as sickened by these opportunistic Jack Me Off rip-off individuals as I am.
These legitimate companies usually have a website of their listings or services and clearly set minimum requirements for each of their listings, as well as salary, number of teaching hours, accommodation information (provided/Yes/No?, shared/single, off campus/on campus), Visa information, bonuses, travel reimbursement, etc. In other words, these professionals are TRANSPARENT and provide truthful answers to the candidate's questions.
In addition, they NEVER ASK YOU to PAY an AGENCY FEE!!
Legitimate/licensed ESL Recruitment Agents or HR company's get their fees from the school where they have an agreement. Once you are thoroughly vetted for your teaching qualifications, the legitimate Agent or HR Recruiter will help you to find a job you are qualified for and/or selected from their website.
Any Jack Me Hoff crap Agent who asks you for a fee for a low paying ESL teaching job in China, let's say a 2,000 RMB fee for example, is ripping you off!!
Why? It's simple, they may be double-dipping, getting a fee from you AND the school, OR, they are simply getting any school job listings they have from the SAME website they're advertising on! Do your own job search homework!
Once a suitable school is found by legitimate agents, they will present your information to the school and then, IF the school accepts you, they will then provide you the contact person at that school who YOU will then deal with directly answering specific questions the recruiter will not know. Legitimate Agents DO NOT go with you or even need to go with you to sign a contract!
NO LEGITIMATE Agent can promise or guarantee you a job! While they can work hard to find you a job, there is no guarantee unless you are willing to take a 4,500 RMB a month crap job with some crap shared accommodation and teach 25-30 hours a week. NO deal!
The best salary's are for those seeking at least one-year employment. These jobs should and will help you get a Z- work/residency Visa AND reimburse the costs. Summer or temporary jobs are usually suitable for those already in China with a legal Z- Work/Resident Visa.
Please remember... it is against PRC laws to work on an L-Tourist or F-Business Visa!
While many foreigners do and are not caught by the PSB, some do get caught and face deportation and black-listed from China for five years minimum. Jack Me Hoff Agents WILL NOT tell you this!
Furthermore, working illegally gives you NO protection if the school does not pay you. You are illegal, so who can you complain to?
It would be like more than one USA idiot in the news going to the local police station to file a complaint about the bad drugs they bought! Remember, the foreigner is on an uneven playing field in China or, should I say, MINEFIELD!
Only with the proper Z-Visa is any contract valid for a foreigner, and even then, if you're working an unapproved second job, you may not have any legal recourse with the local Labor Bureau in a contract dispute.
There is NO such thing as a work or teaching contract on an L or F Visa. Such contracts are invalid or illegitimate on their face. Once again, remember, the locals have ALL the winning cards in their hand.
1. NEVER pay any Jack Me Hoff Agency fees!
2. Legitimate Agents or HR Recruiters usually have a website with listings and more details on their offered jobs.
3. You CANNOT legally work-for-pay at a school on an L or F Visa!
4. Do your own job search if possible. Look at the same website the Jack Me Hoff Agents advertise on and you will usually find your own job.
5. You MUST have a Z-Work/Resident Visa from the schools Province to work-for-pay at a school in China. I personally know, or should say, knew people in China who were deported working illegally in China.
While their Visa was in Chongqing, their job was at a chain school's Shenzhen location. I personally know another foreigner working on an F-Visa at a well known English training center in Chengdu who was immediately forced to leave his job after a random PSB check/raid.
6. Search the multitude of ESL employment websites for jobs and if the website has a School Review or Blacklist section, look for the school of interest to you. You may find more information there on schools or agents you will be or are dealing with.
7. Remember the 7-P Principle regardless of ESL job searches or life in general... Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
8. Also remember, "If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn't"; "Stupid is as stupid does" and "Forewarned is forearmed".
9. There is absolutely NO need to send your passport information to an Agent. ONLY the HR or the Foreign Affairs Officer FAO at the school needs this when the contract is signed to get you approval from the Labor Bureau for your Foreign Expert Certificate (FEC) and PSB check.
If they are in fact a legitimate company, and insist on a passport page for verifying nationality, then send the scanned copy of the front page of your passport with your passport number and/or other numbers blacked-out. They do not need this until later unless they're buying you an air/train ticket which is not normal procedure. Normally you pay travel and are reimbursed.
10. Ask questions, questions and more questions from an Agent and/or school until you're satisfied. Legitimate schools and agents do not mind and are happy to answer all your questions. Even then, you can get ripped-off! If the Agent and/or school is evasive or will not answer your questions, forget them and look elsewhere.
11. Get a copy of the contract sent to you in English and Chinese with your details sent. You will not sign until later arriving at the school. If they say they cannot do, at least get a copy of the blank contract. If they say they cannot do this, then forget them and look elsewhere. I know this is possible and a legitimate company sent to me over six years ago when I first came to Guangzhou to be a Director of Studies (DOS). PLEASE understand the Chinese version of the contract ALWAYS prevails in a PRC court so try to have someone you trust compare the English to the Chinese version and look for any discrepancies.
12. This information applies to ESL teaching positions. NGO's, jobs in multinational companies, or other non-teaching jobs have a different Z-Work Visa and FEC requirements. In addition, professional jobs outside the ESL industry may require a fee from the headhunter, however, the prospective employer may pay this, or negotiated with the headhunter on a 50/50% split for example.
13. Patience is a virtue when looking for an ESL job, whether in or outside China. Those who hurry this process and simply go on faith or unscrupulous Jack Me Hoff Agents invite disaster!
Good luck to all of you newbie's wading through the ESL job search minefield!
Thank you for all of this information :)
sometimes is hard to find somebody to tell you the truth when everything is about getting money.