Common teach in China scams –

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Pay to teach:

Unless you’re doing an internship, where you should be getting extra for your money, never pay to apply for or take a job. Chances are that the recruiter will disappear with your money.

The only thing you should pay for is your visa and flights (your flights will be reimbursed when you complete your contract).

Wrong visas:

This is one of the biggest teachings in China scams.

You cannot teach in China on a tourist, student or business visa. You must have a Z visa.

Otherwise, you could get into trouble with immigration or the police, and even get deported.

Shady recruiters:

This is another one of the most common teaching in English scams.

You get your job through a recruiter who promises you everything you want. And then you get to China and they’ve disappeared.

At best, the school has disappeared or has no idea who you are. At worst, you’re there on the wrong visa to be exploited.

Fake apartments:

You see pictures of where you’ll be living before you get to China and then you get there and it’s a dump that you share with five other teachers.

Unfortunately, this is all too common.

Paying under the table:

You should always have a legal teaching contract that stipulates how you get paid.

Never accept pay under the table in China. This practice is the mark of a sketchy school or recruiter.

And if you get caught, they’ll disappear, and you’ll be deported or arrested.

Unclear contracts:

You need to check your contract very carefully.

It should include everything from wages, the timing of wages, hours, extra duties, which school you teach at, your accommodation, and holidays.

If anything is missing, get it added. Otherwise, you’re leaving the door open to get abused.

If you have a clear contract, you at least have legal recourse if something goes wrong with your school.

Signs of a scam –

If you’re going to avoid being scammed when you teach in China, then here’s what to look out for:

Unsolicited approaches:

Don’t trust anyone who reaches out to you on social media and offers you a job. This kind of eagerness usually covers up bad things.

Changing or no qualifications necessary:

To teach in China legally, you need a bachelor’s degree to get a Z visa, the only visa you’re allowed to teach on. Full stop, the end.

You’ll also need a teaching certification like TEFL. And you should never believe anyone who says otherwise.

Generic email addresses:

Emails from your school or recruiter may come from the free sites that everyone uses, like Hotmail, Gmail or 163 (Chinese).

While this is common, be on guard if they don’t also have a proper work email address.

No Z visa:

You must have a Z Visa to work in China. This means that you’re a legal teacher with rights.

If you don’t have this visa and something goes wrong, you have no recourse. You could also get into trouble with immigration!

So, never agree to work in China on any other visa, no matter how attractive they make it sound.

Too good to be true:

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t believe anyone who promises wages that are much higher than the norm or a ridiculously small number of hours.

You’ll probably end up working hours of overtime without pay or something.

Just don’t do it.

No contract:

China is very regimented and loves paperwork. Which is why one of the most common teach in China scams is to withhold the teaching contract.

Contracts are taken seriously in China. If you don’t have one, then your employers can pretty much make you do whatever they want, and you have no right to complain.

So, get it signed and sealed.

Unclear contract:

Make sure you read through your contract carefully. It should promise everything that was verbally promised to you.

You should also check when you get paid, so you don’t end up teaching for months without pay.

Make sure your hours are what you expected and look for a probationary period.

Not every school gives a probationary period, but if they do then make sure you aren’t liable for more hours or duties after you pass it.

Vague escape clause:

There will be an escape clause in your contract. It will tell you how much notice you have to give and what to do if you need to leave.

Peruse this part very carefully. If the terms aren’t very clear, get it re-written or walk away.

At most you should have to give a month’s notice before leaving.

There should also be a section telling you what will happen if you don’t give notice.

This should be written out in detail, so make sure you find the terms acceptable.

Source: Gayle Aggiss from
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