Saturday, June 17, 2017

SCAM WARNING: Most China Foreign TEFL teachers are asked to sign illegal employment agreements by job recruiters and private learning centers. These contracts are not valid nor binding. Check YOURS today!

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Both China job recruiters and employers do not want you to know this. So if you don't want to anger your boss, or want to keep a "harmonious relationship" with your job agent or recruiter intact, you should stop reading now and go play a video game or take a nap.  

If however you are tired of being exploited and cheated or do not even know you signed an invalid contract (About 75% of expat contracts signed with TEFL contracts in China are unlawful and thus non-binding).Keep reading. But if you work for a public school or university in China you are 100% safe concerning your contract since they are highly regulated and very compliant with the law.

Here is what you need to know...

According to Chinese law, all employees must sign an "EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT contract with only one party - Their actual direct employer.  It is illegal for you to sign an "employment agreement" with a China job agent or recruiter.  If you do so, that contract allows the agent recruiter/agent to skim huge amounts of money from your salary - often as much as 50% or more.

Legally, agents and recruiters can only ask you to sign a "service" or "fee agreement" and this is where you must be alert and smart. No such agreement should require you to pay a dime NOR AUTHORIZE ANY DEDUCTIONS FROM YOUR PAY. In China it is standard for the employer to pay any and all recruiter and agent fees. But the devil is always in the details, and if you do not read your contract carefully, you will get screwed. Here is one sample contract used by 11 different recruiters in China that are named for you at This is quite typical of a contract newbies are asked to sign, and many do so out of ignorance:

NEVER ever sign a contract that is given to you on the spot. Take it home and read it thoroughly and ask a Chinese friend if the Chinese terms exactly match those in English. Of course, you should never sign a contract that is only in Chinese, and it is important that you only sign a contract that you agree with. If something is vague and unclear it was done so deliberately so your employer can take advantage of you and then simply say that YOU "misunderstood". Also, do not sign a contract in Chinese that does not have a verbatim English translation ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF EACH PAGE and be sure to sign each English and Chinese page. To be extra safe, put your thumbprint on each page as well.

Where you work (exact location) and your exact job description are important to include in your contract or you will find yourself working at many locations and spending at least 4 hours a day traveling on buses and subways between campuses, with barely 30 minutes for a lunch break!

Every single page of your employment contract needs to bear the signature of the employer and your own as well as the date and corporate seal (chop) of the employer. If you do not do this,pages of your contract will be swapped out at a later date, and you will be asked to hand out brochures in some mall or a hot street corner. If you complain they will whip out a copy of their Chinese contract and remind you that you signed off on it in your contract!

Do not assume that you will automatically be given a copy of your contract. You must demand "an original hard copy that is signed and chopped". Be sure that any Chinese who sign the contract both print and sign their complete legal Chinese name and not some fabricated name like "Rosie Tang" or "Jane Zhang". 

As to what should actually be included and excluded from your contract to protect you from abuses make sure all "hours" mentioned in you contract are "class hours" and not "clock hours".  Then look at these suggestions which most veteran teachers insist upon: http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion...-contract.html

If you ignore this post you will one day realize you were cheated out of money, benefits,or both. It will also be of great benefit to you to know and understand that you have 15 employee rights that willprotect you against employer exploitation:  There is no need to dance with the devil in China if you avoid TEFL recruiters and China job agents and remember the 90% golden rule:

"90% of China employers are honest, fair, and ethical, but 90% of China job agents and recruiters are not."

To be fair there are a few honest recruiters in China like Foreign HR, Gold Star, Mercer, Marsh, Hays, etc. but any recruiter who cannot answer these 7 simple questions can be assumed to be a scam artist or identity theft...

If you still have doubts about your recruiter or prospective employer, check these blacklists to be safe and not sorry:


CFTU Annual Members Picnic & BBQ was a blast - Shi Du Campout & CS War Games Planned For July 1st Weekend

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For those of you who did not make it to Yan Qi Hu for the annual summer picnic and BBQ and don't want to wait until July for the next newsletter, there is a bombshell surprise waiting for you at the bottom of this post!  But until then here are the winners from our picnic competition...

VOLLEYBALL  (Best 3 of 5 games)

WINNER: Team True Blue
Big Dave


WINNER: Team Big Red
William G.


WINNER: The Green Team

William C.
Peter was disqualified (too drunk to participate)

(Stage 2 - Semi Finals)

Michelle 229 over Nelson 196
William C. 212 over Samir 188
Jaime 247 over Denise 245
Gwen 241 over Micahel 172


First Place:  Peter (12)
Second Place:  Phillip (10)
Third Place: Mei (8)

(Recently Renamed Event Compliments of Peter)

The Undisputed Champion:  Philadelphia Frank

Our special thanks to Li Peng and Grace for serving up the best roast pig ever and delivering it so far for us to enjoy! (Yan Qi Hu does not allow open pit fires so they roasted the pig in nearby Huairou and drove it out to us - As per our motto, there is a problem for every solution!)

Now some sad and great news... One of our oldest members (Linda from Baoding could not join us this year as she had to go back to the states for chemo treatment since she had issues with the school that gave her fake medical benefits. Our high hopes and prayers join her back in Boston where we know she will get the best treatment. We already missed your great jokes at this year's picnic Linda so please keep us posted of your progress. We love you!

And speaking of love... following three years of denying their love-hate relationship, this is the moment our Co-Administrator Denise said "Yes" to Danny at the Hotel where she was lured under false pretenses her brother got lost and was waiting for her at the bar!  We still do not know the details of the wedding yet but we think Denise may now change her mind about going back to Livonia!  GONG XI- GONG XI!

Our Summer camp-out and CS Laser Tournament is planned for July 1st in Shi Du and members should get the details from this month's newsletter or contact Holly or James who are coordinating the event.  Then we are all off on summer holiday until we return for the Fall Semester. If enough of us are back before Labor Day we may take a weekend trip to Qingdao, Yantai, or Weihai, so keep in touch.