Saturday, September 28, 2013

How To Find An Honest Agent Or Recruiter For Foreigner Teachers In China - RE: China Jobs CFTU

Yes, the rumors are true...indeed there are a handful of honest and ethical agents and recruiters in China and abroad. There are not many but finding them is like finding the proverbial "needle in the haystack." Let's put it in perspective... In all of China there are only 329 registered/licensed teacher recruiters and agents. Yet there are over 300,000 teaching job ads placed every year by over 2,000 self-professed agents and recruiters. They fall into four basic categories:

A) Honest and ethical
B) Dishonest & Unethical
C) Identity thieves
D) Greedy (taking more than a 20%-66% monthly commission of teacher

All four categories advertise openly and covertly (blind ads) on the internet and on multiple ESL/TEFL forums which lends them credibility and wide viewership. So how to find one of the 329 licensed/registered agents or recruiters?

There are 4 easy and FREE ways to filter out all the bad apple agents and recruiters as follows:

[1] BEFORE you send copies of your passport and visas to any agent or recruiter, send them this form letter and ask them to complete and return it to you with all the blanks completed
Honest agents and recruiters will not object to transparency and be proud to prove they are legitimate. If they refuse to fill in all the blanks or fail to return the letter, move on and avoid all further contact with them as they are probably scammers. The letter is self-explanatory.

For those who do return the letter, be sure you verify the information online, especially the registration, which you can do at the below links or by asking a CFTU volunteer to run a check (just send an email)

Shanghai AIC:

Beijing AIC:!query.dhtml

Guangzhou AIC:

[2] You can google search the name of the agent with the words "problem, scam, complaint" and see what if anything pops up.

[3] You can check the various CTA and CFTU blacklists at and

[4] You can post an inquiry here at to ask others if they had any good or bad experiences with a particular agent.

But here are a few things to remember to obtain from whatever agent you plan to use (Just in case things go South)

A) Their full and complete legal name as per a scanned color copy of their government id card (if Chinese) and a full color scan of their passport (if they are foreigners)

B) Contracts that are in English that are signed, dated, and sealed on each page which specifically address working locations, hours, days, pay, insurance, visas, release letters, and who pays for all of them. You need to have a hard copy original in your hands BEFORE coming to China along with your Z visa.

C) Verifiable office address and land-line telephone numbers of the agents since more than 80% operate only from disposable mobile phone numbers and free email addresses like,,,,,,

Lastly, if any agent tells you to come to China on an L, F, or M visa to work RUN! You can only legally work in China with a Z visa and that Z visa needs to be provided to you along with a signed contract BEFORE you buy your plane tickets. Scam agents won't care about your legal problems, deportation, fines, nor reentry bans if you get caught working without a Z visa. Whatever they say verbally, make sure it is in writing in your contract or take a pass on that agent.

Follow the above advice and you will greatly reduce your chances of being swindled. And NEVER give copies of your passport and visa to anyone other than a "direct employer". If you need to know why, you can read this article:

If you are a CFTU member, please see this link below:

Here They Are!

© Copyright 2010- 2018 by CFTU - Reproduction with Source Credits Authorized

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Scam Alert For China Foreign Teachers - Release Letter Extortions Getting Popular Again!

 Were you looking for...


What you need to know...

Fascimile Release LetterWhen you work in a school in China your details are registered with the authorities. If you leave this school and want to move to another you must obtain a Release Letter from the school. With this, your new employer will be able to register you. Without it, you will not be able to be registered at the new school and - in the eyes of the authorities - will still be working in the first school.
The Release Letter is an incredibly important document and you must obtain one. By law the school must give it to you within 30 days from you leaving them, regardless of whether you left them on good or bad terms. The letter needs to be completed and officially stamped by the school.


A Release Letter is free and you should not pay for one. However, some schools demand payment for it. Some schools will even include in the contract a clause saying you will need to pay for it and then demand between 5,000 CNY up to 25,000 CNY or about $800 USD (€633, £509) to $4000 USD (€3165, £2545)!  But this is totally illegal.
You have every right to demand a Release Letter when you leave a school and you do not have to pay a single penny for it. However, if you find yourself in a position where your employer is demanding money for it or delaying giving it, then you should contact the China Foreign Teachers Union who will be able to advise you and help with obtaining your Release Letter from your old employer.


If you or other teachers at your school have been having problems with the school administration and you have any reason to believe they may play games with your release letter, we suggest that you anticipate this problems and do three things:

1)  Use the "record" feature on your mobile phone and when you approach the principal or HR director and ask for your release letter be sure your phone is in your hand at side and recording.  This way you will have solid evidence of extortion if a formal complaint is required. 

2)  Obtain the full Chinese name of the people who ask you to pay money for your release letter (usually on their business cards). If they do not want to give this information, discreetly ask one of the security guards, secretaries or someone else who may have been working there longer than you.

3)  Take a close up photo of any and all people who ask you to pay for your release letter. If they fail to follow the law, you will be able to provide an accurate description to the police and Minister of Education as well as post the photo on our web site with a warning to the 6,000+ CFTU members and other ESL/TEFL teachers who visit our website at least once a week.

If and when you have a problem getting your release letter and you cannot obtain it with a simple verbal request, send the principal and HR Director a formal email request and you can use similar wording as follows:

Dear Principal___________________,

In accordance with  Provincial and Central Government law, I am hereby requesting that you provide me with an original hard copy of my release letter that is signed and sealed.  I will come to pick it up personally the day after tomorrow at your office.  Thank you in advance for your timely cooperation.


Your Name
Your Email Address 

NOTE:  You can also send a CC copy to if you want proof that you sent the email. We also want to thank Cindy of Milwaukee for this great link:

Here They Are!

© Copyright 2010- 2018 by CFTU - Reproduction with Source Credits Authorized