Sunday, April 6, 2014

CFTU Volunteers Joins SAFEA In Planting New "Foreign Experts Forest" in Huairou. CFTU to plant their own forest in Haidian.

China Expat Wage & Salary Charts     China School & Agent Blacklist     Current Scam Alerts

Last week a group of CFTU volunteers joined two bus loads of veteran foreign experts and the SAFEA leadership on a green adventure to Huairou where we planted 99 popular trees in a barren area of Huairou.  We were also joined by the Mayor if Huairou who then treated us to a very nice luncheon before giving us a tour of the Lake Yan Qi area where the APAC conference will be held later this year on October. See below photos.  We all had a great time and were proud to take part in promoting a green environment.  Plans are now underway with SAFEA to plant a CFTU Forest in western Haidian and we also plan to plant one CFTU Silvertip Pine tree on every university campus in China.  Foreign Teachers who want their primary and secondary school students to participate in the CFTU's "China Green Program" should send an email to 
BTW... if you are looking for a romantic getaway with your partner or you want to show your kids the last nature reserve close to Beijing (great field trip for students) bring them here to Lake Yan Qi. The Kempinski Hotel will soon open a very modern resort here with a 350 room capacity.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Beware of CUCAS Study In China Programs In Beijing & Shanghai - Investigation Underway

China Expat Wage & Salary Charts     China School & Agent Blacklist     Current Scam Alerts

We are not yet calling this a scam so no red alerts have gone out yet to our members. But we received some disturbing information as per this link below and we are now launching our own investigation which may take up to fifteen days. During this time we advise all expat teachers and foreigners abroad to use extreme caution in dealing with this entity until we sort out all the facts.


Friday, February 7, 2014

China Foreign Teachers Union Now Offers Free Job Placement Service

Okay fellow expat teachers, we are tired of warning everyone about shady agents and by now you probably learned the hard anyway.  So our new board of directors looked at 129 suggestions received from our members across China and thanks to Heather in Shen Zhen we have agreed to offer a free job placement service on a trial basis in Beijing and if all goes well we will expand it to our Shanghai branch based on feedback. Again, we emphasize that like all the other services we provide, this new service is also free so nobody will be taking a cut of your paycheck. In case you don't yet know why we need to do this in China you can visit this link for a crash course:

Here is how the program is set up to work and it is limited based on the fact that we only have 19 regular volunteers in Beijing helping us out and most of them have to deal with complaint issues so three of them will be assign to this new project.
We will send you a one page template which will also act as your cover-letter and when we receive your template back, we will send it with your resume directly to 10 Principals in Beijing based on the category you indicate you prefer to work as follows:

1) Kindergarten 
2) Primary School
3) High School
4) University
5) After School Tutoring
6) Business English
8) AP

We will not do anything more than make this introduction. If the school likes what they see it will be up to them to contact you for an interview.  We will not accept any payment from you nor the school for this service. We will not send your resume to any school that is blacklisted or not licensed to do business in China, or who is not authorized to hire foreign teachers (only about 60% of the privates schools are properly licensed.
Once this the school has contacted you negotiate your own contract and leave us out of the hiring process. We do not have the time nor staff to become your translator, lawyer, or negotiator. You must however tell us when you get hired since we will continue to send out your resume every 15 days for 90 days. After 90 days your file will be deleted whether you get hired, return to your homeland, or decide teaching is not for you any more.

Suggestions And A Request: If you participate in this program please do not embarrass us and be sure that you:

A)  Show up on time for your interview and dress professionally
B)  Read the website of the employer BEFORE the interview
C)  Take copies of your passport, current visa, and diploma
D)  Be prepared to hive a 30 minute demo class if asked
E)  Do not lie on your resume - it will always surface
F)  Dress to impress -  very professionally
G)  Read this link about contract clauses: 
      China Contracts - CAUTION!

DO NOT SEND US COPIES OF YOUR PASSPORT NOR VISA - WE DON'T WANT NOR NEED THEM.  SEND US ONLY THE COMPLETED TEMPLATE  AND CURRENT  RESUME  IN  MS WORD FORMAT.  Then please be patient it may take our volunteers 2-3 days to match your preferences and send out your resume.  At present we have 612 schools in Beijing that have offered cooperation. We hope to expand this to 1,000 by the end of August.  Do not call or email us for "updates" or "follow-ups". Once we send the school your resume, we will not contact them again. We will not send your resume to the same school more than once every 45 days. If you want to participate, you can request a template by sending an email to:

If you are an expat foreign teacher working in China you are welcome to request and use our other free services which you can request by email to the below email address. Here is what we provide you free of charge:

*  Free Scam Alerts By Email
*  Free China Job Interview Tips
*  Free Copy Of Current China Health Alerts
*  Free Copy Of China Labor Laws In English
*  Free Copy Of Our Expat Annual Salary Review
*  Free Copy Of Our Annual Report & Teacher Survey
*  Free Copy Of The Most Current Visa Laws Of China
Free Cross Cultural Training Seminar Held Quarterly
*  Free Language Exchange Partner To Learn Chinese For Free
*  Free Participation In Our Social and Networking Events And Day Trips
*  Free Access To China School & Agent Blacklist & Whitelist (Click Below Link)

Remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression.  Interviews in China are a bit different than back home so you need to prepare yourself accordingly or you may be shocked at some of the questions you will be asked. If you want some tips how to pass your interview send us an email to

Be advised that the CFTU is a non-profit volunteer organization established in 2010 and we neither sell  nor promote, nor recommend any company, product, service, religion nor political cause other than a clean and healthy environment for all of us. We don't offer nor provide legal advice other than what is posted on our web sites. From time to time we get smeared on the internet by people we have either exposed in the past or by a recruiter who perceives us as a disclosure threat. Our membership is free but limited to only expat teachers who are currently working in China. No we are not a legal registered "union" per se, but we adopted this name as it most closely represents what we do. We do have a good working relationship with the ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, SAFEA, and the PSB but we do not under any circumstances share nor disclose any of our members by name, telephone, nor email. Any information you every provide us will bever be sold nor shared with any third parties unless you ask us to do so. All of our files are stored with 256 bit AES encryption. Please be wary of all internet job ads that offer full time positions that pay less than 10,000 yuan per month unless they are universities. The reason is explained  here: and If you do decide to use an agent, we highly recommend that you demand that they complete every blank on the below form to protect yourself from abuse and exploitation.

We welcome you to China and hope  your
adventure here is safe, fun, and rewarding!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

China Foreign Teachers Now Monitored By SAFEA And Blacklisted For More Reasons in 2014

We reported in 2012 and 2013 that we obtained a Chinea teacher blacklist kept and used by School principles in Beijing and Shanghai.  Shortly thereafter we discovered that SAFEA was publishing a list at this link:

Originally there were 259 teachers blacklisted on the SAFEA web site and after three months of discussion, we managed to get all but nine of the teachers removed.

However, in 2014 they will no longer publish the list so we will not know who nor how many teachers are on it (unless someone leaks us a copy as happened before). But we were also told there are now 9 reasons a teacher will be blacklisted whereas before there were only 7 ways to end up on the list. So pay attention and avoid these problem areas if you want to remain as a teacher in China and be able to renew your visa Z visa and FEC...










Yes we agree, that last one is a bit vague and we were unable to get any clarification but we will keep trying.  The big difference in 2014 is that if you get listed by SAFEA your visa will not be renewed when you go to apply - even from outside the country!  Further a 1-3 year reentry ban may be placed on you at the discretion of the PSB.

As you can see, they are getting fed up of flaky teachers who jump ship in the middle of a contract.  So before you sign a contract, be damn sure you plan to finish it as you may get yourself politely booted out of the country.  As onerous as this new policy appears, we can understand WHY they have resorted to these measures.  So, don't say you were not warned.

 Were you looking for...

China Expat Wage & Salary Charts     China School & Agent Blacklist     Current Scam Alerts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

China Foreign Teachers Union - Contract Suggestions Save You Time, Money, & Grief

Did you come here by mistake?

Looking For The CFTU Blacklist?  Click Below

To See What You Should Be Earning In China... Click Below

First and foremost... if you are coming to China to work in any position, for any company or school, you absolutely must have two things in your hand BEFORE you even buy your plane tickets...

1)  A signed and sealed contract

2)  A work visa (Z visa)

If you come to work in China with either of these you will easily be exploited and cheated. To understand why you can visit and read  This post will talk about important clauses that you should add to your contract. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN ANY CONTRACT SENT TO IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE WORDING, TERMS, AND CONDITIONS.  If agents and recruiters tell you differently - ignore them. Do not sign contracts that are vague, ambiguous, nor unclear. If you were promised something verbally or in an email, make sure it is included in specific terms in your contract, or those promises will be forgotten and you will simply be told "You Misunderstood".  If you have a Skype interview, we suggest that you record that interview in case there is any future "misunderstandings" after you arrive in China. You can download free Skype recording software from this link below:

VERY IMPORTANT - Do not sign any contract that is not in English, no matter if you are assured that the contract says "exactly as we discussed".  If you sign a contract in Chinese or any other language that you do not understand, you will be cheated and have plenty of unpleasant surprises.  Make sure every page of your contract is signed dated and has the corporate red seal of your company/school or pages may be switched on you later.


If your school/company is licensed and registered.  Below are the 12 key clauses you should insert into your contract before signing it.

So here are the 12 clauses every foreign teacher should insert into their contract before signing it.

"The teacher shall be provided an invitation letter at no charge by the school/employer at least 15 days to their arrival date in China"

"Within 72 hours of termination, for whatever reason(s), the principal of the school shall provide two original, signed, and sealed release letters free of charge to the teacher. Failure to do so shall incur a fine/penalty of 20,000 yuan upon the school/principal by default and shall immediately become due and payable upon infraction/violation."
"Any proposed changes to the teacher's work schedule must be made in writing via email to the teacher at least one week in advance of the proposed changes, and the teacher may accept or decline proposed changes within 24 hours of receipt of same notice without penalty."

"Assigned hours of work shall be from ____:00 am to ____:00pm from ______day  to ______ with days off being the two consecutive days of ________day and ________day.  If asked to work on these days off, the teacher shall be paid at the rate of _______yuan per hours spent on the school premises, not just actual class time."

"Any and all images of the teacher may not be used online nor in any poster, brochure, advertising, newspaper, magazine, nor newsletter, without the express written permission of the teacher, and violation of same shall incur a fine/penalty of 20,000 yuan upon the school/principal by default per incident."

"The teacher is not required to participate in any marketing and/or sales activity organized by the school nor any other organization and if asked to do so may decline or accept based upon a negotiated special compensation for said activities."

"The teacher is not required to work on any National Chinese holiday nor on the following foreign holidays (list)."

"The teacher will not be asked to make any purchase or expenditures from their own personal funds for any supplies or school activity(ies)."

"The teacher shall not be asked to perform any task nor assignment that is not specified in their written job description attached hereto as "Exhibit A".

"The teacher shall never be asked nor required to make any false statement nor representation about any school, company, service, nor product."

"The teacher will work only on the school premises and if needed to participate in any activity not on the school premises the school will provide full round-trip taxi or air fare in advance and not ask the teacher to take a bus nor a train."

"The teacher retains any all IP rights to any lesson plan and/or PPTs created by the teacher and same cannot be used without the teacher's express written consent. Violation of this clause shall result in an automatic penalty/fine of 20,000 yuan per documented incident."

"If the teacher is not paid in full for services rendered on the normal designated pay day nor within 24 hours of same, the teacher may, at their sole discretion, exit their contractual obligations without penalty nor further obligations."

This page will be updated twice monthly as we receive feedback from other teachers working in China. If you are already a teacher working in China and you want to suggest a clause, by all means send it to Legal[at]  You can also obtain a free copy of China's Labor Laws by request to the same email address. In China, the more you know, the smoother you flow!  Be prepared for the unexpected or you'll end up like this fellow below...

 Were you looking for...

China Expat Wage & Salary Charts     China School & Agent Blacklist     Current Scam Alerts

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

List Of Direct Employers For China Foreign Teachers Now Available From CFTU

Tired of scanning countless ads at and and dozens of message boards only to find that the ads are either fake or the posters of the ads are pretending to be HR directors, Principals, or Direct Employers when in fact they are all agents who want a big slice of your pie?

Then when you you send in your resume your inbox begin to mysteriously fill up with spam with people trying to sell you really awful jobs, travel insurance, visa assistance, and even escort service?  Worse yet you end up like this gal here...

Dangers Of Job Applicants In China 

Truthfully there are indeed some honest recruiters and agents in China. Then there are some that are scams and others that are well... just plain greedy.  See here...

But it is your life, your career, and your money and you can do as you please.  If you want to apply directly to schools and universities and you have some one who can draft an email and resume for you in Chinese, you can get the list of 612 direct teacher employers (only for Beijing and Shanghai at this time, but we are accepting listings for other schools around China that our staff will verify and update every month)  So if you want to apply directly to employers send for your list to

If your school is licensed to hire foreigners and you wanted to be included on the CFTU direct employers list, please send an email to  Be sure to include all of the following which will be verified:

* School Name
* School Address
* School Telephone Number
* School Web Site Address
* Principal's Name
* School HR Contact Tel. No. (No Mobile Nos.)
* School HR Contact Email
* Nearest Subway Station

Please note that none of the above information will be published and only the School Name, Subway Stop, and HR Contact email will be included in our directory for teachers. 

If you are okay with agents and willing to roll the dice, at least use the below form letter and you will be better protect from abuse. Do not send any personal data or passport scan BEFORE you get this letter back from your agent and you verify the information. Likewise sign no contract BEFORE you visit and read


Here Below is the CFTU Agent Reply Form Letter You Should Use To Protect Yourself:


Sunday, January 19, 2014

CFTU Conducting China Foreign Teacher Agent & Recruiter Survey

At the request of a dozen of our members we have recently undertaken to identify all the licensed and unlicensed recruiters and agents advertising jobs in China and asking them to declare their fees and costs. Thus far this is what we have received via teachers who have used these agents and recruiters in the past. We are told that almost all of these companies/entities also charge a one-time processing fee or application fee and the companies in red, actually refund that fee when you complete you contract.  Of course, as always we do not make any recommendations, especially since some of these agents have been blacklisted more than once in the past and even currently. Some of these agents have very few or even no current complaints pending. So buyer beware...

Best HR – 25%                                       
Foreign HR – 30% 
Fesco – 20% 
Antal – 20%
China ESL -50%-66%
Gold Star Teachers – 40%                            
China Job Central – 10% – 20%
Crossroads – 25%
Footprints – 35%
Red Dragon HR – 15%
China - 20%
Match Dragon – 25%
ESLCafes – 30%                                      
ESL China – 25%                              – 40%                                  
ESL Jobs - 30% - 35%                                                – 15% – 30%               – 20% -40%                         – 25%                         – 35%                    – 30%                             – 40% – 30%    – 20% – 25%                      
Michael Page – 25%         

We would be remiss not to share these three links with you ...


Monday, January 13, 2014

China Foreign Teachers Union Releases 2014 School & Agent Blacklist & Whitelist

First the good news... There are less black hats out there this year thanks to your cooperation in 2013 in reporting and identifying the scammers. The bad news is that the black hats have now disguised themselves very well as legitimate agents and have been posting hundreds of fake ads at,, and a dozen other ESL & TEFL forums and message boards.There are also many fake posts on those forums from agents pretending to be teachers praising themselves and of course, recommending them to others. BEWARE or be sorry friends.

We urge every ESL & TEFL teacher looking to work abroad (not only in China) but anywhere overseas, to utilize our Agent Reply Form Letter to protect yourself in the new year. The form letter is below and if you want a pdf copy to share with all your teacher friends, just send us an email requesting the form to  Any agent or recruiter who refuses to complete and return this form to you should be avoided and definitely should not be given a copy of your resume nor passport. If you still do not know why, read this article:

If you still don't know how to find your own job directly without the risk or expense of using an agent, you only need to educate yourself and you can start at  You can also get a copy of our new 2014 Whitelist by sending a request by email to

If there is a specific school or agent you want to check on, you can google them by their name and phone number and email (do all three to be safe) or you can visit our Blacklist page at: 

The lists have just been updated as of January 10th, 2014. Last but not least, don't delude yourself into believing that all the shady and greedy agents out there are Chinese. In fact, now 40% of them are fellow foreigners!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

CFTU Volunteers Bring Holiday Cheers & Treats To China Orphans

This year we continued our community goodwill tradition by visiting another orphanage with a handful of teachers and Santa Claus who brought gifts of chocolate and toys for 150 orphans from Anhui Province whose parents died in earthquakes or other tragic events. It was a moving experience for us and we are now recruiting volunteer teachers who may want to help one day a week with their sister orphanages in Beijing and Shanghai. We need talented Dance, Art, and Music teachers along with a Sports Coach who can teach Soccer, Volleyball, Tennis, and basketball. All Volunteers are asked to send their resumes and police certificate to

We also need ten volunteers teachers to join us next weekend to visit a home for the elderly in Huairou. We will bring some treats and warm clothing for them and perhaps sing some old Western songs for them. For all those who donated clothing for this project XIE XIE!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

China 2013 Employment Statistics Including Average Salaries Of Expat Foreign Teachers Released

ESL Global Salary Survey Statistics
Part I

For those agents and recruiters who scoff and mock these numbers, tell them to read the New York Times, The Atlantic, and this Huffington Post article here:
Huffington Post


The total population of China has reached 1.45 million. Of this, the economically active population was 785.79 million at the end of 2011. At that time, China’s workforce hit 764.2 million people, with 359.14 million employed in urban and 405 million in rural China. The number of migrant workers stood at 252.78 million, with an increase of 10.55 million from 2010. Among the migrant laborers, about 158.63 million worked outside of their home province. Regarding the sectors, primary industry accounted for 34.8 percent of total employment, while secondary industry represented 29.5 percent, and tertiary industry had a share of 35.7 percent. The unemployment rate in urban China stood at 4.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons reached 9.2 million. Employment forecasts by the Ministry of Labor project annual growth to average 3.2% per annum over through 2015. Approximately 1.6 million foreigners are employed in China. Of those, foreigners teachers account for 82% with average salaries of 16,500 yuan per month. Average salaries for professional foreigners is 52,000 yuan per month. Currently, expat foreign teachers are the lowest paid foreigners in China.

The above information was obtained from China's Ministry of Labor. The below chart was compiled by independent CFTU research conducted by our volunteer staff over the last six months based on random surveys of 500 ESL teachers working abroad in the countries researched. This may explain why fewer teachers are coming to China. CFTU members can obtain a copy of the complete report by sending an email to

2013  ESL Teacher Survey

The numbers above in the left column equate only to average monthly salaries in thousands of USD. The good news is that Chinese society still respects teachers as much as doctors and airline pilots. If only we could pay our mortgages and car payments with prestige!

Below is the average pay of primary school teachers by country as compiled by UBS HR's Department. The first figure represents Annual Gross Income. The second figure represents after-tax income, and the last number represents the hours worked per week.

Buenos Aires
Hong Kong
Kuala Lumpur
Los Angeles
Mexico City
New York
Rio de Janeiro
Santiago de Chile
São Paulo
Tel Aviv
Here's another easy to read pie chart we "borrowed" from Mercer - the second largest HR company in the world. We also obtained one from Fesco in Chinese but the figures are less than 3% different, so we are not going to post it here. If anyone wants the Fesco chart in Chinese, please send us an email.

One Last Chart Compliments Of (Thank You)

Table of Expat Salaries in China (2011 to 2012)


Job/Position/Years Experience

Annual Salary (USD)

Annual Salary (RMB)

Chief Financial Officer / 15+ Years
Finance or Accounting Manager / 8+ Years
Financial Analyst / 7+ Years
Media Director / 10+ Years
Account Manager / 3+ Years
English Copywriter / 4+ Years
Banking/Financial Services
Top-Level Positions / 10+ Years
Banking/Financial Services
Mid-Level and Junior Positions / 3+ Years
48 to 110K
300 to 700K
ESL Teacher / 0 Years
ESL Teacher / 3+ Years
Human Resources
Manager / 6+ Years
Project Manager / 8+ Years
80 to 140K
500 to 900K
Developer / 7+ Years
International Law Firm / 6+ Years PQE
In-House Corporate Lawyer / 6+ Years
Architect / 5+ Years
Project Manager / 8+ Years
Engineer  / 5+ Years
Managing Director / 20+ Years
Mid-Level Manager / 7+ Years
48 to 110K
300 to 700K
Front Office Manager / 5+ Years

*Note further that these are aggregated amounts of an average expat salary in the private sector in China: if you work for a small firm or company, expect to earn a little less; if you work for a large firm or company (or better yet, a foreign company), expect to earn a little more. The amounts quoted also assume a fair amount of relevant work experience – as a foreign worker in China, a minimum of 8 years is preferred.

When reading job ads on the internet, most forums and agents posting on the forums and message boards will always refer applicants to this link

in an effort to trick you into believing these are the normal average salaries for China. But if you look very carefully you will see the small print that says "2005". These are the salaries from 8 years ago!

(Look at the very small print and you will see "2005")

Saving potential for expats in China...

For many expats, the question of whether or not to emigrate to China will depend on their saving potential – i.e. how much money they can 'bank' at the end of every month, after paying tax and  covering accommodation and living expenses. 
For highly qualified and skilled expats, this is not so much of a concern, with about 25 percent of expats in China earning in the region of USD 200K a year. For those seeking mid-level employment in China, however, the following factors should be taken into consideration: 
  • Although China's cost of living is famously low – with youthful ESL teachers known to live on about RMB 3,500 (USD 500) per month – your expat salary package remains very important. Try to negotiate the best possible deal for yourself, as often the 'perks' of your contract will decide whether a move to China is financially viable for you or not.
  • Although many Chinese employers won't provide an accommodation stipend, some will. You're doing well if they offer you something in the region of RMB 9,000 (USD 1,500) per month.
  • Health insurance for foreign workers in China is quite expensive, and if this is provided in your salary package, it will save you at least RMB 1,300 (USD 200) per month.
  • The issue of whether or not the company will provide for education expenses is often the 'deal-breaker' for expat families planning a move to China. The price of good-quality international education is astronomical – as much as RMB 1.2M (USD 200K) per year in the most extreme cases.
  • Bear in mind, too, that most expats will be taxed around 20% of their monthly salary in China, but that this can rise to 40% for high earners.
  • Note that as a foreign worker in China, you will be expected to work very hard for your money, and that the intensity of the Chinese workplace can be a bit overwhelming for some expats.
  • Remember that although working in China might not be as financially rewarding as working in other expat destinations, such as the Middle East or Russia, there are some wonderful cultural benefits to such an adventure. China is at the forefront of global economic development, and there are many exciting things happening within the country to attract ambitious professionals. Also, the opportunity to learn a bit of Mandarin is widely reported by expats to be one of the most valuable aspects of working in China.

Now if you need to calculate your salary, taxes, or pension in China, please use this complimentary calculator: