Sunday, August 24, 2014

Current Official Foreign Expat Teacher Requirements To Teach ESL - TEFL In China - What Certification Do You Really Need?

There seems to be too much misinformation floating around as to what is really required to teach ESL or TEFL in China at present. For instance, we have found over 20,000 posts online at various ESL & TEFL & TESOL forums and message boards insisting that you "MUST" have a TEFL or TESOL certificate to teach in China. This is simply a false statement, but the repetition of this statement all over the internet and echoed by the many recruiters who are sales agents for the TEFL & TESOL training companies, makes it believable. One Chinese user at Yahoo "Answers" named "May" put up over 9,000 posts in the last three years spreading this lie. Considering that she probably earns a $100 commission for everyone she enrolls into a TEFL or TESOL Training program, May must be pretty wealthy by now.  But "May" is not alone, there are literally hundreds people just like May working for 19 different TEFL and TESOL training companies that use the same lie to enhance their sales.

So for the record, according to SAFEA (the official Chinese government agency that regulates the employment of foreign workers in China) below are the ONLY official requirements to teach in China:

1)  A bachelor degree from an accredited university
2)  A minimum of 2 years previous work experience
3)  Minimum 21 years of age
4)  A police certificate confirming no criminal record
5)  A valid passport and a work visa (Z visa)

Additionally the schools and universities will insist on their own requirement of "English Fluency". Until July of 2013, these above requirements were not strictly enforced and thousands of teachers circumvented the requirements by entering China to work on a tourist, business, or student visa. Today in 2014 however, enforcement has gone from one extreme (lax) to the other (very strict) and there is zero tolerance. Recently, over 1,600 foreigners were arrested, fined an average of $2,000 and expelled from China, with a 3-5 reentry ban, even though some of them are actually married to Chinese nationals.  See:

Now the TEFL/TESOL sellers are also using other lies to sell their certification programs that include the following - all of which are FALSE STATEMENTS:

* Most all the schools in China will not hire you if you do not have a TESOL or TEFL certificate. (In truth of the 19,239 schools/learning centers in China that hire foreign teachers, only 393 of them require TEFL or TESOL certificates, and 278 of these schools require thatyou buy training programs that they themselves sell!)

* If you do not have a TESOL or TEFL certificate you will only get the crappy jobs that pay less tha 10,000 yuan per month. (In truth 98% of the schools that hire in China do not even ask if you have a TESOL or TEFL certificate).

* There is a new law starting next month that will require every foreign teacher to have a TEFL or TESOL certificate. (a clever fabrication)

*  If you do not have the 2 years working experience, a TEFL or TESOL certificate is a substitute for that requirement. (A blatant lie) 

* If you do not not have a degree in Education the schools require that you have a TESOL or TEFL certificate. (Although this sounds logical it is also a lie) 

* You will earn a much higher salary in China if you have a TEFL or TESOL certificate. (We actually did a survey on this issue in 2013 and found that the only teachers who make more money than others are those holding a degree in Education, ESL, or are AP certified)

You simply do not need to have any TEFL or TESOL certificate to teach in China as any "REQUIREMENT".

Now then, have cleared the air on the " China teacher requirement" issues, we will say that taking a TEFL or TESOL training program is a good idea if you have never taught English before. About half of the expat teachers now working in China are not really qualified to teach from the perspective of experience and academic credentials. These are the teachers that would clearly benefit form a TEFL or TESOL program. 

But in this regard, there are only two such training programs whose certificates are recognized and accepted around the world (the Cambridge CELTA and The TESOL Institute program).  Most all the other programs issue you certificates that are only recognized and accepted in very small and poor countries like Haiti, Guatemala, Somalia, etc.) And online programs are not going to make you a better teacher in 120 hours no matter how diligent your efforts are. If you choose to take TEFL or TESOL training, we urge you to do so in a live classroom environment where you can actual role-play and interact with real students or instructors.

UPDATE:  On Septmber 16, 2014 the China Daily made a very vague announcement saying that the city of Beijing "MAY" start requiring kindergarten teachers to have a TEFL or TESOL certificate, and want all other teachers to have "five years of previous experience".  As of yet there is no such law and if and when such a law become reality we will advise everyone and here and through our monthly newsletter.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

New Life ESL May Not Be The Scam You Think It Is...

In recent days we have received over three dozen inquiries about New Life ESL - a fairly unknown recruiter that operates no office in China. China labor and commercial laws mandates that placements of foreign workers in China be done only by recruiters/agents that maintain a registered and staffed office in China. New Life ESL is violating these laws - whether deliberately or by ignorance matters little.

We have noticed many people making allegations that New Life ESL, a fairly new ESL agency based in Phoenix Arizona is just another front alias for China ESL (owned by Rebecca Tang). Although she has been known to use several such alias companies and foreigners in the past, our investigation and inside sources at China ESL suggest that whatever Derrick Yazwa the owner of New Life ESL (pictured above) may or may not be, there is no hard evidence (yet) that he is affiliated with Rebbeca Tang of China ESL, as Mr.David Valley surely is.

Our investigation is ongoing, and to be frank, the CFTU has only received one complaint about the new agency - New LIfe ESL, and the teacher who filed it quit her job and moved back to her homeland where she says she will post her own story of alleged exploitation at various ESL forums. We have also ascertained that New Life ESL is not licensed nor authorized to do business in China and is not licensed in the State of Arizona as an employment agency. Their website went online in June of 2013. 

According to this link below, Mr. Yazwa had claimed to be registered in Hong Kong, but as of yesterday, there was no HK registration to be found for New Life ESL. SAFEA confrimed that he is not registered with them, and they in fact never heard of the agency. Ditto for the Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Commerce, and SAIC.  We think it is safe to say that New LIfe ESL has been operating in the gray ether of cyberspace, like most all of the Chinese job recruiters and self-professed "agents".

We are in no position to give New Life ESL our blessings in as much as they have advised teachers to go work in China on L, F, and M visas, which is actually a criminal offense.

So in view of all the above, New Life ESL does not merit being blacklisted unless and until more complaints surface and go unresolved beyond 30 days.  If  anyone has a problem with New Life ESL, now would be the time to step forward, openly or in confidence - as you see fit. But please stick to verifiable facts and we will do our duty to remain impartial and objective based on those facts.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

CFTU ESL Teacher Scam Alert! Beijing High School 80 Fraud -

Beware of a pleasant foreigner fellow using the name "Jordan" and disposable hotmail and yahoo accounts pretending to be the FAO for Beijing High School No. 80 in Chaoyang district offering great paying jobs of 20,000 - 30,000 yuan per month. This is just a scam. He uses several Beijing mobile numbers. The school administration never heard of this guy and we are now notifying the principal and the police.  These scams are common during the summer months when the admin staff is on vacation.  YCIS was recently subjected to a similar scam.

This man may be an identity thief so be sure not to send him any of your personal information nor any money. If he has contacted you, please send us the telephone number and email address he contacted you from and the link to ad that you responded to. This will help us track him down.  Thanks.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

CFTU Scam Alert! Some ID Thieves Now Masquerading As China Foreign Teacher Job Recruiters. They Want Your Original Photographs!

We have issued a scam alert to all 6,839 of our members world wide that the ESL/TEFL job market of China has been infiltrated by identity thieves posing as recruiters and agents offering "great jobs".  The clever bandits are both Chinese and foreigners, spam hundreds of ads all over the internet baiting teachers to reply to the ads with their resumes.  The "friendly" and "helpful" thief posing as the recruiter will the call the job applicant and request copies of their passport scans and other personal information to be collected and used to open bank accounts and obtain credit cards in the name of the foreign teachers.  Those that ask for "two passport-size head shot photographs" will use the real photographs to make driver's licenses and passports in the name of the job seeker. Some women are being asked for full-body photographs which is insane.  Do not respond to these clowns no matter how nice they are or how much they may pressure you. 

As of today the requests for real photographs have been coming from an esl forum operator in New York and and a fake recruiter in Beijing
\To maintain their cover the ID thieves will then sell the resumes to real HR people so that the soon to be victim will actually receive real job offers, and may eventually come to work in China.  These shady scam artists are so smooth and convincing there is only one way to detect them... to use the below form letter designed by the CFTU found at this link...

Before sending resumes and passport scans to ads or strangers who call on the phone, applicants only need to send this form letter to the "recruiters" and demand that they fill in the blanks and return the form before further cooperation takes place.  Those that refuse or send back incomplete forms clearly have something to hide. As a victim of ID theft, you will not even know you were victimized until some three months later when police or bank officials suddenly want you to come in for a meeting.

CFTU Warns Expat Foreign Teachers Of ID Theft Job Scams From New York & Beijing

More about this problem that affects 20% of all expats searching for work in China can be found at this link:

The CFTU is now cooperating with the Beijing police, SAFEA, and Ministry of Justice to sting these fraudsters who are not all Chinese. About 40% of the thieves are foreigners.


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