Monday, January 26, 2015

Can YOU Spot A Legitimate Chinese School Employer And Job Recruiter China Foreign Teacher?



The internet is full over over 120,000 "Teach In China" job ads. Half of the jobs are real and half are not. If you don't know how to tell the difference, keep reading expat teachers...

For prospective teacher applicants abroad, most do not even think about the reputation or legitimacy of their China employer or recruiter. This can be a costly mistake. Consider the following:   In China there are over 19,000 leaning institutions, of which only 2,367 are authorized to hire foreigners. Over 1,000 of these are white-listed. While 90% of the schools in China are in fact honorable and legitimate, 90% of the China job agents and recruiters are not.  It is important that you know the difference to ensure that your journey to the Middle Kingdom will be full of only good memories and a positive experience.

Public Universities and public schools are all legitimate in that they are all properly licensed, BUT not all of them can hire foreigners for a variety of reasons. Most but not all of them have honorable administrations that treat their teaching staff with dignity, respect, and fairly.  They account for 75% of the institutions on our current white list. International schools, or at least the ones that are foreign-owned are 98% legitimate with all the proper licensing. There are a handful in South China that are still not properly licensed to hire foreigners and we have reported them to SAFEA and the Ministry of Education.

If any school cannot provide a teacher applicant an invitation letter clearly stating that you will be coming to China to work under contract as a foreign teacher and specifically request a Z visa, they are 99% certain to be an illegal operation and should be avoided.

If any school or recruiter cannot tell you their SAIC business license number, they are also an illegal operation not authorized to do business in China. If you are dealing with foreign based recruiters you should ask them for a scan of their local business license and Employer Identification Number (EIN) to check with the tax authorities to see if they are legally registered as a business. Corporate certificates alone do not prove a company is legitimate.

The next step to help determine legitimacy is to look at their website to find a real street address, names of company officials, and email addresses linked to the domain name of the website. Any recruiters or "schools" using free disposable emails like hotmail.com, yahoo.com, sina.com, 126.com, yeah.net, 163.com, gmail.com, should be avoided.  Now go to whois.com and type in the domain of the website to see how old the operation is and who owns it.  If the website is less than two years old be extremely cautious. If the website is less than a year old,  be sure to get all the license scans above or else avoid them completely.

Do not be fooled by any school telling you or even showing you that they are on the SAFEA "white list". There is no SAFEA white list.  SAFEA does maintain a registry of all th schools in China that are authorized to hire foreigners, but it does not endorse these schools to be honorable or free of complaints, law suits, or other problems. This is where are blacklist kicks in. If the CFTU receives 3 or more complaints from teachers that go unresolved for more than 90 days, the school is blacklisted until all the complaints are addressed and resolved.  Schools that fail to respond at all to our inquiries will remain on the list permanently as a warning to all teachers. 


This may seem like a lot of work to you, and it is. Scammers are counting on you to be too busy or lazy to check them out. This is why we have volunteers at the CFTU.  Three people do this all day long and it is tedious work.  So if you do not have the time to do this all yourself, you can just request a copy of our 2015 white and blacklists of China schools and recruiters at request@chinaforeignteachersunion.org  Remember, China is the land of endless fakes and every company needs a second and closer look, no matter how impressive the website and all those glorious testimonials. Reading reviews at ESLWatch.info is a great start since reviews cannot be purchased at this web site as they are at others.


This may seem like a lot of work to you, and it is. Scammers are counting on you to be too busy or lazy to check them out. This is why we have volunteers at the CFTU.  Three people do this all day long and it is tedious work.  So if you do not have the time to do this all yourself, you can just request a copy of our 2015 white and blacklists of China schools and recruiters at request@chinaforeignteachersunion.org  Remember, China is the land of endless fakes and every company needs a second and closer look, no matter how impressive the website and all those glorious testimonials may be. They can be bought for $500 per month.

For a copy of the 2016 update please send us an email at admin@chinaforeignteachersuniopn.org or click here:
http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.org
Copyright 2010-2016 By CFTU - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Free CFTU Guidebook: China Labor Relations & Conflict Resolution For Expat Teachers

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NOTICE: Chinese Law prohibits the public distribution of legal advice so the following information is only for our CFTU members.

Welcome to China - the home of endless "misunderstandings". If you decide to work or teach in China, rest assured that you will have at least one argument a month with your employer. This is normal for new arrivals in China and if the problem does not fade after six months, you may either want to look for a new employer or go home. Rest assured that China will not adjust to you.  Every month we here at the CFTU get about 30 "complaints" from expat teachers in China about their employers. But in reality maybe only 5 of the 30 are legitimate gripes. The vast majority are simply misunderstandings due to language barriers, cultural misinterpretations, and/or lack of communications.  Keep in mind that for 5,000 years Chinese culture has programmed their citizens to be "harmonious" and avoid conflicts. Your employer does not want problems with you. They need you and usually want you to be happy. Granted there are exceptions where some unethical employers will try to exploit you, but they are not the majority. 


The key is to control your temper and not make a small problem bigger. If you can keep calm and cool, you can resolve about 80% of all your gripes with your employer. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. This is China and things are done differently here - and "face" is extremely important. This is not your country. You are a guest here and need to adjust to local ways and protocols. There is no BBB, FTC, or Congressmen here to run to when you have issues. Your embassy will NOT get involved in labor issues so don't waste your time nor theirs. You need to be your own diplomat first, and usually that will be sufficient to work things out. Only when you cannot accomplish a mutually-acceptable settlement will we intercede on your behalf. 


There is an old Chinese proverb that says "It is better to lose and argument than a friend".  Some of our colleagues in China have also learned another lesson... "It is better to lose an argument than your job". If you end up insulting your boss in front of others you have not only lost the battle, but just started a war. However, If you handle your argument strategically and tactfully, you will probably prevail. It also does not hurt to know your employee rights and China labor laws (we can also provide you a free copy of these in English).

The CFTU offers a free guidebook to "China Labor Relations & Conflict Resolution" and we offer it both to teachers and schools. Send for it by email and it will prepare you for your next argument with your employer, and hopefully you will have less and less "misunderstandings" after reading this free publication. You can request your own free copy at request@chinaforeignteachersunion.org

For a copy of the 2016 update please send us an email at admin@chinaforeignteachersuniopn.org or click here:
http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.org

Copyright 2010-2016 By CFTU - All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 12, 2015

CFTU Urges 12 Contract Clauses For All China Foreign ESL, TEFL, AP Expat Teachers To Avoid Abuses

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Although the number of scams that target foreign teachers in China has dropped by 7% since 2014, the sophistication of the latest contract frauds is causing more teachers to lose more money - as much as 40% of their income as one Shanghai teacher demonstrated at this link...  http://www.shanghaiexpat.com/phpbbforum/china-s-silent-scam-steals-40-of-foreign-teacher-salaries-t181524.html?sid=cf79ec6dc8d871e695202e38e143a76a

The truth is that most new arrival employees to China simply are innocently ignorant of Chinese labor and contract law and they mistakenly assume it must be the same as back home. Big mistake. Almost every employer in China wants to pay you less money - not more. In fact, they want to pay you as little as possible, and that is why they team up with hundreds of unethical China job recruiters to pull off what we all refer to as China's "SILENT SCAM" which is explained here quite well: http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=642187

The only way to avoid this gratuitous skimming of your pay, is not to sign one-sided, nor ambiguously vague employment contracts that basically waive your employee rights. To do this you must insert at least six clauses into your contract and line out others that may be lurking there. The most important clauses are listed below.

* Party B does not under any circumstances waive his/her employee rights and labor board protections, and retains the right to seek legal remedies in the courts of China.

* Party B shall not be compelled to do any non-teaching work for Party A.

* Party B shall be compensated for all overtime hours worked in accordance with central and provincial laws.

* Party B shall not be compelled to provide testimonials or his/her image for any public display purposes by Party A.

* Upon termination for any cause, Party A will provide Party B a release letter within 10 consecutive days of termination, at no cost.

* Existing lesson plans, teaching materials, and ppts of Party B are proprietary and may not be copied nor used without express written consent.

* Party B agrees to work exclusively at one campus located at __________ for Party A.

* Party B is not liable for any fines nor other penalties if this employment agreement is breached by Party A.


* Party B at all times reserves his right to to legal remedy and recourse through the appropriate courts as provided by law.  

"Party B shall be reimbursed for any and all visa costs including related transportation costs if required to travel more than 10 kilometers to obtain a new visa."

"Party B shall not be asked to expend his/her own funds to purchase any class or teaching materials."

"Party B shall be provided the same two back to back days off every week".


Inevitably someone will tell you "Chinese law does not allow you to change anything on our contract".  This is total BS.  Ask them to show you the law.  If they show you something from 1995 ask them to show you the newest most current labor law signed by President Hu Jintao on May 1st 2008 and the two most current amendments signed by President Xi JinPing in 2012 and 2013. Their deception about this should be a big red flag about your prospective new employer. Do you really want to work for someone who tries to cheat you before you even report for work?   Your call.


You should also also know that if they ask you to sign any contracts in Chinese, you must be given and "Exact & Verbatim Copy in English" and make sure you get signed, sealed, and dated original copies of both English and Chinese versions. If you fail to do this you will surely be exploited.  If you want to learn more about China Labor Laws and your employee rights, attend one of our local seminars or workshops in Beijing, shanghai, or elsewhere. 

For a copy of the 2016 update please send us an email at admin@chinaforeignteachersuniopn.org or click here:
http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.org
Copyright 2010-2016 By CFTU - All Rights Reserved
 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Official 2015 China Foreign Teacher Mandatory Requirements & Qualifications

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Good news friends... The 2015 foreign teacher requirements, as confirmed by SAFEA are still the very same as 2014 despite the hoopla hoax of the China Daily advertorial that was disguised  quite well as "breaking news" back in September of 2014 (For details see: http://www.bjstuff.com/profiles/blogs/mystery-news-article-about-new-china-foreign-esl-tefl-teacher)  But, hey, this is China (TIC) and laws can change tomorrow or next week without advance notice, so always check the SAFEA web site or with  us by email at admin[at]ChinaForeignTeachersUnion.org if you have any doubts. But as of today, here below are the current and official MANDATORY china foreign teacher requirements:
>>>>> A bachelor degree in any major (Note: They are now being verified)
>>>>> A valid passport and a Z visa (Note; Any other visa will now get you deported)
>>>>> 2 years of previous teaching experience
>>>>> 21-60 years of age
>>>>> A police certificate (For Beijing now - Shanghai soon)
>>>>> Fluency in English (Some employers will test you)
Be advised that there are no mandatory requirements to have a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA teaching certificate, although if you have never taught before it would be a good idea. Just because you speak English, does not make you an English teacher. At present, 8% of all expat teachers in China have one of these certificates. 
If you decide to enroll in TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA course we urge you to find a program through a local university that provides a real classroom setting, and a real certificate that is internationally recognized and accepted. Online or software-based programs cannot provide you the proactive real-time dialogue nor realistic role play as does a classroom setting. As for what makes for a "genuine" certificate, you may want to read this here... 

Also be wary of unethical or pushy recruiters who tell you they can not find you a job unless you buy a TEFL program with their assistance. See:  http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=616386

For a copy of the 2016 update please send us an email at admin@chinaforeignteachersuniopn.org or click here:
http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.org
Copyright 2010-2016 By CFTU - All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 Was Year Of Progress According To China Foreign Teachers Survey...

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Although the exodus of expat teachers out of China continues, those 28, 378 foreign teachers now remaining all agree that other than the horrid winter air pollution, things are improving for them in China - albeit a gradual change.

Below is a summary of how our 2014 survey participants answered 25 key questions. Qualifications are up, scams are down, and the pay is gradually moving up. Interestingly, 69% of China's expat teachers chose China as their first teaching assignment of their international careers.

The biggest gripes of expat teachers still focus on low pay, dishonest recruiters, but racism complaints are down to only 4% this year. In what was the most shocking revelation of the survey, 70% of all foreign teachers did not even know they had some decent employee rights!  Why babble on here when you can read for yourself...


We were also proud to see that more and more expat teachers in China are opting to take TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA training in an effort to become better teachers which is truly admirable. This year 8% of those working in China hold such a certificate which is 5% better than last year. We hope this trend will continue and urge all of our teacher colleagues to get the best training possible so the kids of China can get the best training from us possible. Seek out a local university that provides live classroom training that allows for a proactive dialogue and realistic role play that is not possible with online and software-based courses.  Also be sure the certificates issued are in fact - internationally accepted and recognized.

As we enter into the new year, please take note that a record number of teachers were arrested and deported last year for working without Z visas and/or using fake diplomas and TEFL certificates to obtain employment.  The Chinese government has made legal compliance and  enforcement a top priority, so be sure you follow the law and not the verbal promises of some smooth recruiter friends.


Although foreign teachers earned about 5.7% more money in 2014 overall, we are still the lowest paid expats in China, but in 2015 we intend to change this with your help. You can start right now by refusing to work for less than 250 yuan per hour if you have a real degree and Z visa.  If you hold a degree in Education, you should not be working for less than 300 yuan per hour.

In closing, the CFTU volunteers joins together from 17 provinces to wish all of you the very best of health, wealth, and fun for 2015 to you and yours!  To get a free copy of the complete 7 page 2014 CFTUnnual Report, just send an email to 2014Report@ChinaForeignTeachersUnion.org.

For a copy of the 2016 update please send us an email at admin@chinaforeignteachersuniopn.org or click here:
http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.org
Copyright 2010-2016 By CFTU - All Rights Reserved