FAQ

FAQ

I. How does it feel when I teach and live in China?

You will constantly be surprised by the way people in China live a mix of a traditional Asian lifestyle with 21st century modernity. It goes without saying that this country’s history, its epic sights, and the food are all awe-inspiring. You will also find the Chinese people friendly, quick to laughter, willing to help, and endlessly curious about foreigners. Expats get treated a bit like celebrities in much of China and you’ll often be asked to pose for a photo with strangers. You can expect something new to happen to you every day and will need to expand your horizons accordingly, adjust to cultural differences, and keep in mind that living standards may not match everything available back home. Keeping an open mind and being flexible will take you a long way in China, as will making some local friends and learning a bit of the language. Even a few common courtesies from a good phrasebook like Lonely Planet Mandarin will help open doors for you. Working here will give you a tremendous opportunity to become conversational in Mandarin, a language that will become more useful as China’s global influence continues growing. Some schools even provide free Mandarin instruction for their foreign English teachers. These days, the expat community is also well established and you will have little trouble finding other English speakers if you branch out. Many have already blazed the same path so you won’t be left to figure everything out on your own. There is so much to see and experience in China beyond the Great Wall and Forbidden Palace. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the country on weekends and holidays – inexpensive high-speed rail is ubiquitous and flights between major cities are relatively cheap. Getting out of China for a break is also easy – many teachers head to Vietnam and Thailand for their vacations.

II. Do I have enough paid vacations to travel in China during my teaching contract?

Yes. Your vacations shall be in conformity with the host school's schedule in addition to the Chinese public holidays. The major annual breaks occur in summer with four weeks and in winter with another 4 weeks covering the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year festivities. Additionally, there is one week beginning May 1 celebrating International Labor Day and another one week beginning October 1 celebrating China's National Day. The foreign teachers will be also allowed one to two days for their religious holidays, such as Christmas day. So there is ample opportunity to travel and see other areas of your region throughout the academic year. In most cases, if you are invited with a contract for one year (or one term) and have accomplished the task as stipulated in the contract, you will receive a travel allowance given by the host employers. (About 2, 200 Yuan RMB per year and 1,100 Yuan for half a year, some institutions also give other gifts, depending on the occasion)

III. I am a black man who applied to teach in China, but I was never answered. Are Chinese people racist?

This is a sensitive subject. While our answer is "no", many schools have hired black teachers and instructors for summer camps, you must provide proof of your ability to speak well. Many Chinese people doubt your ability to speak proper, unaccented English if your origin is some place other than USA, Canada, England or Australia. Also, lack of a diploma may lead to doubts about your ability. Perhaps more so for minority applicants than Caucasian applicants, you must provide proof of your qualifications. But if you are determined and prove yourself to be experienced and have command of a standard accent, you should be accepted.

IV. How about the required qualifications?

To be legally employed in China you must enter the country with a work visa (Z-visa: See unit in this guide on "Obtaining a Z-visa"). Work visa requirements are based on guidelines established by China's State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA). There are currently two categories of foreign experts in China: 1) Foreign educational, scientific, cultural and medical experts, and; 2) Foreign economic, technical and managerial experts. EFL teachers fall into the first category.

The guidelines state that a "foreign educational expert," or teacher, "should hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and more than two years of experience." The work experience does not necessarily have to be in the field of education, but can be in any area deemed appropriate or relevant by the prospective employer. As the SAFEA guideline uses the Chinese character for the word "should," instead of "must have" or "needs to have," there has been a great deal of "flexible" interpretation across provinces regarding the minimum educational requirement over the years. While a bachelor's degree is generally regarded as the de facto minimum educational requirement to legally teach in China, this currently appears to be the exception instead of the rule—although there are many anecdotal reports that this is gradually changing. Certainly, the better paying and more satisfying jobs would only be available to those with a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and, more likely than not, prior teaching experience in one's native country. However keep in mind that the SAFEA regulations are strictly advisory and that each province, autonomous region, and municipality is free to adopt their own rules and procedures for issuing foreign expert certificates and residency permits.

China has a lower barrier for entry for teaching jobs than many other countries we work with. Typically, if you have a BA degree and are a citizen of a native English speaking country, we can find you a good job. Having TEFL certification helps your job prospects tremendously and it makes you a much better teacher. A 120+ hour certificate is now basically required for all positions (even if not stated as a requirement). Having an in class component as part of your TEFL course is quickly becoming essential for the better jobs. You need to complete a reputable course before you begin teaching and this is often done between the time you first apply for a job online and your departure for China. There is a lot of flexibility with hours of instruction that allows you to get your certificate even while working full-time. In some cases, your school will help pay for your TEFL certificate and some larger school chains have their own in-house certification programs they’ll pay for you to take. Previous teaching experience is a tremendous asset and will help you land a higher paying job. A public school teaching license from your home country is normally not required, but check the job description as it’s beginning to pop up (especially for some government teaching jobs in Hong Kong).

V. What if I do not have a degree?

If you do not have a degree, you must have:
Qualified Teacher Status and at least one years' recent classroom-based experience of teaching English or modern languages, or a TEFL qualification and one years' classroom-based experience of TEFL or teaching another subject.
However, some school will accept you without degree requested, and in some summer program, they may also accept. But some school will not accept you without a degree, so your options will be restricted.

VI. Do I have to trouble myself to deal with the visa process?

One big relief about working in China is that the school arranges your visa for you. You will still have to provide the requisite paperwork and stay on top of the process together with your recruiters, but it’s a far smaller hassle than securing a visa for another country on your own. In the past, some foreigners arrived on a tourist or student visa and found teaching work locally. The government has been cracking down on this practice and it’s definitely a lot safer to get the correct “Z” working visa along with your signed contract before you arrive to avoid getting in trouble and having to leave the country. Of course, the advance knowledge of a guaranteed flight ticket, job, and apartment waiting for you in a specific spot in China also makes planning your big move much easier.

VII. Notice About Administration of Foreign Expert Certificate Issued by SAFEA

Notice About Administration of Foreign Expert Certificate Issued by State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA).
State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of Provincial and autonomous regional governments, municipality directly under the central authority, education committee, talents importing  office, general office(Bureau)of public security, ministries and commissions of the State Council, education departments and foreign affairs departments of Institutions directly under State Council:
 
In order to conform to the reform and opening policy,to promote  macro-administration of importing overseas talents into China, SFEB Issued the notice about implementing the system of foreign expert certificate in 1994, with Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Railways , Ministry of Communications, State Administration of Foreign Exchange Control and Price Administration Department of State Planning Committee released notice about  implementing the system of foreign expert certificate for examining qualification of foreign expert in China and providing better condition for them. The measure is supported and appreciated by relevant departments, retaining institutions and foreign experts. Policy of foreign experts' employment has changed recently, the administration of certificate administration need be improved, the relevant information is as follows:
 
I)  the granted Object of foreign expert certificate

1.Foreign Expert Certificate(cultural and educational category)
All Foreign economists and technologists with job Visa(category z),who are working in China, need apply for foreign expert certificates(economic and technologic category),Foreign economists and technologists with  other Visa,also take foreign expert certificate
2.Foreign Expert Certificate(cultural and educational category)
All foreign experts who are employed by the retaining institutions with qualification certificate of retaining cultural and educational foreign experts and oversea agencies in China authorized by SFEB need apply for it.
 
A foreign expert can be granted a foreign expert certificate by normal contract(original one)signed with retaining institution, which is   printed and issued by State Foreign Expert Bureau.
 
A cultural and educational foreign expert who is working in China according to agreement also need sign a normal contract before applying for foreign expert certificate.
 
A cultural and educational foreign expert who is working to china for short term also can apply for a foreign expert certificate authorized by provincial, municipal, ministries and commissions' departments in charge of foreign expert if it is necessary.
Staffs of oversea agencies in China, foreign teachers and administrators of cooperative school between China and foreign countries,foreign teachers and administrative staffs of school  specialized in  recruiting foreigners' children, which is run by oversea organization and Individual  in China, apply for foreign expert certificate by legal writs.
 
II)  the Procedure for Residence

Within 30 days after a foreign expert enters into China, he need take procedure for residence by foreign expert certificate in entry and exit administrative department of Public Security Ministry.
 
III)  the administration of foreign expert certificate

Foreign affairs Offices of Provincial, autonomous regional governments, municipality directly under the central authority take charge of the numeration of  local foreign expert certificate and sealing in column of license- issuing authority, then granting it to retaining institution via original canal (departments in charge such as foreign office, education committee importing talents office and more)
Steel seal of signing and issuing institution is Stamped by license-issuing authority or by retaining institution authorized by license-issuing authority.
2   Central committee, relevant ministries and commissions of State Council, directly under Institution, corporation and headquarters can entrust Beijing foreign affairs Office to take charge of granting institutions directly under   central authority in Beijing foreign expert certificate which also can be released by foreign affairs departments of ministries and commissions, corporation. Foreign expert certificate of local school in Beijing and other educational institution(include retaining institution under Ministry of Education)is granted by Beijing foreign affairs Office.
3.Foreign expert need hand over foreign expert certificate if they change into a new institution which should conduct foreign expert certificate again for foreign expert.
4.Before a foreign expert leaves China, the retaining institution should take back foreign expert certificate or written Off it. Signing and issuing department and retaining institution have no right to charge expert guarantee deposit.
5.According to No.105 documents [1994] issued by Foreign Expert Bureau, foreign expert certificate can be charged for printing of the certificate,but one shouldn't exceed 50 Yuan.
 
IV)

Green-black foreign expert certificate(94 Edition)already has been taken by local departments ,which is printed by SFEB takes into in effect just as the purple one(96 Edition).

VIII. The institution in charge of foreign expert certificate and procedures

The institution in charge of foreign expert certificate and procedures
The title of examination and approval item:foreign expert certificate (examine and approval category)
The number of examination and approval item:BJXSCWS003-2002
 
The regulations on examination and approval Item: Notice about application of foreign expert certificate issued by State Foreign Expert Bureau.
The fee of examination and approval Item: no charge
Examine and approve overall timing:7 days
Examination and approval Procedure:
 
I) Acceptance

Qualification:
Materials submitted by applicant are as follows:
1, foreign expert's certificates ;
2, Residence Permit's Number.
Requirement:
Applications should be complete, normal, valid.
Person in charge in this position:an clerk of foreign affairs department
Responsibilities and authorities:
Examine materials according to the relevant regulations.
To examine materials from applicants according to relevant regulations.
If an application is accord with regulations, it should be done promptly and transfer the applications to examiners.
If an application is not accord with regulations, it shouldn't be done , but it should be done in writing as follows:
to submit a complete materials promptly;
to learn about his relevant rights and complain ways;
to put on records to the higher level department.
Timing:1 day.
 
II)  Audition

Requirement:
Applications should be complete normal valid
Person in charge in this job:an auditor of foreign affairs department.
Responsibilities and authorities:
to audit according to the relevant regulations.
To examine and approve it according to the relevant regulations.
If an application is accord with regulations, it should be approved and transfer the application and relevant result to a re-examiner.
 
If an application is not accord with the article one of regulations, the procedure should be ceased to return to examiner and put on records to the higher level department.
Timing:2 days

III)  Re-Examination

The requirement: the same as that of examination and approval
The person in charge: a header of foreign affairs department.
The responsibilities and authorities:
To re-examine it according to the re-examination regulations.
If the re-examination passed, it should be approved and transfer the application and relevant result to a re-examiner.
If an application is refused, the re-examiner should give reasons and opinions to the examiner; to fill in official approval form.
Time limit: 2 days
 
IV)  Approval

The requirement: the same as that of examination and approval
The person in charge: a director of relevant department in charge
The responsibilities and authorities:
To approve it according to the re-examination regulations.
If re-examination passed, the invitation and confirmation of cultural and educational foreign expert should be given opinions, and the application, the invitation and confirmation should return to the original clerk.
If an application is refused, the director should give reason and opinions to the original clerk.
Time limit: one day
 
V)  Notification

The person in charge: a clerk of foreign affairs department.
The requirement:
1 to inform an applicant the exact results in time;
2 to issue a complete, right and valid official document;
3 to put the examination and approval documents on records completely and normally.
The responsibilities and authorities:
To inform an applicant;
To issue examination and approval documents and put it on records according to the relevant regulations.
To inform applicant to get relevant official document and to publicize the results on network, if examination passed;
To inform applicants to submit a complete material; to inform them about applicant's relevant rights and complain ways in writing; to return application to the original applicant, if the procedure is ceased.
To explain reason to applicant; to inform them about their relevant rights and complain ways in writing; to return it to the original applicant if the application is refused.
To put relevant examination and approval documents on records to the top kick.
Time limit: one day

IX. The confirmation letter and invitation of retaining economic foreign expert

The confirmation letter and invitation of retaining economic foreign expert
The title of examination and approval project: the confirmation letter and invitation of retaining economic foreign expert(category: examination and approval)
 
Examination and approval project number:BJXSAWS007-2002 (Beijing trade examination, category A: foreign affairs, 007-2 sub - item, 2002)
 
The relevant criteria of examination and approval Item:the Announcement about Application and Management for Confirmation of Retaining Foreign Expert issued by State Foreign Expert Bureau and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs(No. 16 document  issued by  Foreign Expert office [1996])
 
The fee of examination and approval Item: no charge
The time limit of examination and approval procedure:7 working day
Examination and Approval Procedure:
 
I)  Acceptance

The requirement:
The essential materials are as follows:
1 the copies of business license for relevant institution (see the article 4 of the relevant regulations on retaining economic and technologic foreign expert and applying foreign expert license.) 
2 The employment contract between retaining institution and foreign expert and its copies.( see the above )
3 The application of the foreign experts who are invited by retaining institution.(see the above).
4 The educational degree, work experiences and copies of passport (see the above)
5 The health examination pass of foreign expert(see the above)
 
Requirement:
The materials submitted by an applicant should be complete, normal and valid.
The person in charge:a clerk of foreign affair department
Responsibilities and Authorities
To examine application materials on the regulations.
If an application is accord with regulations, it should be done promptly as follows:
to fill in a invitation for a cultural and educational foreign expert;
to give a transaction form to the applicant;
to transfer the applications to examiners.
If an application is not accord with regulations, it shouldn't be done , but it should be done in writing as follows:
to inform the applicant information as follows:
to submit a complete materials promptly;
to learn about his relevant rights and complain ways;
to put on records to the top kick.
Time limit: one day
 
II)  Examination and Approval

The requirement:
1 An application should be complete, normal and valid.
2 The qualifications of invited foreign experts:
a who meets the requirement of the regulations
b whose educational degree should be bachelor or above
c whose technologic title should be engineer or above
d who should have work experiences for 5 years or above in certain specialty and be competent for the task.
e who is specialized in certain technology or specialty and special skill which is necessary in China;
f who has management experiences for five years or above in oversea;
g who had ever worked as a manager of certain department in a large or middle-size foreign fund enterprise or a high-tech enterprise or above.(see the article 3 in the announcement of the relevant regulations on retaining economic and technologic foreign expert and applying foreign expert license)
The person in charge: an examiner of foreign affairs department.
The responsibilities and authorities:
To examine and approve it according to the relevant regulations.
If an application is accord with regulations, it should be approved and transfer the application and relevant result to a re-examiner.
If an application is not accord with the article one of regulations, the procedure should be ceased to return to examiner and put on records to the top kick.
Time limit: 2 day
 
III)  Re-Examination

The requirement: the same as that of examination and approval
The person in charge: a header of foreign affairs department.
The responsibilities and authorities:
To re-examine it according to the re-examination regulations.
If the re-examination passed, it should be approved and transfer the application and relevant result to a re-examiner.
If an application is refused, the re-examiner should give reasons and opinions to the examiner; to fill in official approval form.
Time limit: 2 day
 
IV)  Approval

The requirement: the same as that of examination and approval
The person in charge: a director of relevant department in charge
The responsibilities and authorities:
To approve it according to the re-examination regulations.
If re-examination passed, the invitation and confirmation of cultural and educational foreign expert should be given opinions, and the application, the invitation and confirmation should return to the original clerk.
If an application is refused, the director should give reason and opinions to the original clerk.
Time limit: one day
 
V)  Notification

The person in charge: a clerk of foreign affairs department.
The requirement:
1 to inform an applicant the exact results in time;
2 to issue a complete, right and valid official document;
3 to put the examination and approval documents on records completely and normally.
 
The responsibilities and authorities:
To inform an applicant;
To issue examination and approval documents and put it on records according to the relevant regulations.
To inform applicant to get relevant official document and to publicize the results on network, if examination passed;
To inform applicants to submit a complete material; to inform them about applicant's relevant rights and complain ways in writing; to return application to the original applicant, if the procedure is ceased.
To explain reason to applicant; to inform them about their relevant rights and complain ways in writing; to return it to the original applicant if the application is refused.
To put relevant examination and approval documents on records to the top kick.
Time limit: one day