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Working in china without a degree - is it illegal


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Hello everybody I am really unsure for the whole visa thing I have done my research on the required visa needed to work in china I have even contacted a agency in china (oral-English.org) and been offered a job teaching in china so things seem to be going great but.

I am 25 years old male with no degree. I have been told by the agency this is not a problem based on my background as a trainer.I will be working somewhere in the south of china not sure when till the 15th December.

So can I get a working visa without a degree is it illegal to work as a English teacher with out a degree.

I am from the uk.

I just need some advice thanks..


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Teaching without a degree isn't illegal, but teaching without a working visa is, and getting a work visa without a degree might be tricky - the actual situation probably varies.

What kind of visa are they giving you? I notice the sample visa on their site is a tourist one, which doesn't bode well.

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As Roddy said, teaching without a degree is not technically illegal. However, to work legally you need to have a work visa / residence permit. To get this you need a Foreign Experts Bureau Certificate issued by the provincial branch of SAFEA (State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs). Their regulations categorically say you need a degree.

(3) Where the invited object is the ordinary foreign teacher of language, he shall have gained the bachelor or higher degree and professional training on language teaching as well as some amount of language teaching experience.


I have also uploaded a leaflet which gives a detailed introduction to work permits for Foreign Experts. This was issued in June 2008 by the Guangxi branch of SAFEA and the regulations it mentions are national.

Side 1 Side 2

Now, those are the regulations, but it is China! It is possible that the prospective employer has connections and can get round the regulations (not that that makes it legal!) and they may be able to issue the work visa. The fact that the sample visa a tourist visa makes me doubt that, though. It is definitely illegal to work on a tourist visa.

We've heard the story a million times. "Come on a tourist visa and we'll sort it out when you get here." It seldom happens.

Note that, in addition to the degree, they are planning introducing a minimum requirement of a Master's Degree and an evaluation examination before issuing expert certificates. No date has been issued officially, but I've heard 2012 may be the end of the world for some teachers..

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If they can get you a work visa then of course you have nothing to worry about (concerning getting fined etc).

If they want you to come on a turist/business visa then just make sure your visa will still be valid when leaving china, because you could face a fine if you overstay for too long (not too much, but you won't have much after teaching english anyways :-) ).

You shouldn't really worry about anything else, I know the word illegal sounds scary for some westerners, but nobody cares, as long as you don't commit a real crime (meaning that there is a victim of it) or somebody hates you and has the right connections to make you suffer then nobody will care.

If I was to worry about anything then it would be the standard of life and salary, which both will probably be crap and probably once you experience those you will totally forget about all the legal issues :-).

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  • 3 months later...

First, work/life experience count for big beans.

Second, if your employer can get you a Z visa, you're in: DO NOT ENTER CHINA ON A TOURIST VISA.

Your employer sends you a letter of invitation, then you check the website of the Chinese Consulate and find the name of an approved physician/hospital: this is where you get your medical done.

You take two photos, your letter of invitation, your medical and some cash down to consulate and fill in the right application form.

If they issue you a Z visa, you're in.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS THAT TELL YOU THEY CAN CONVERT YOUR TOURIST VISA ARE LYING: when it runs out, they will leave you high and dry.

You also risk a steep fine and deportation.

If you have no degree, check www.daveseslcafe.com and look for jobs with state universities in smaller towns. Reserve private sector employment for moonlighting hours or you risk being sorry.

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