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Unmarried couple wanting to live together in China


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Hey just a couple of quick questions here.  First of all my girlfriend and I want to come to China to teach english, she does not have a Bachelors degree but I do have one.  We both plan on getting TEFL certified online in the near future.  I plan on getting a job before we enter China and was wondering if she would be able to come with me on my working visa or if she would have to come on a tourist visa?  We think that it would be easier for her to try and get a job while she is there in the country as not many will hire without a Bachelors degree before hand.  We are open to many different regions in China but would be ideal to go to a smaller City (because we hear its easier to teach without a bachelors degree) and it would also be ideal to teach in the South because we heard its really nice weather there!  With that being said we obviously aren't picky and with never being to China before we are open to new opportunites.  If anyone can give us some advice on possibly where they have been that would work for our situation that would be greatly appreciated. 

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jbradfor

A spouse visa is only given to your legal spouse; "girlfriend" has no legal standing.

 

Regarding the place, there are a number of other threads about where to go, suggest you read those first and come back with specific questions.

 

Keep in mind that in a smaller city, there general level of English speaking ability among the locals is lower, and there are fewer Westerners.  I'm guessing that neither of you speak Chinese?  You might feel very isolated living in a place where you can't communicate with most people.   OTOH, it would be an experience.

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This is going back a while, but I did meet a handful of unmarried couples living together in smaller towns, though in all cases they were both employed by the same school or college. You might encounter some unwillingness on the part of the schools to let you live together on school property or school-managed property if she's not working there as they have to effectively take responsibility for her while not gaining anything from her.

 

You could always just get married and get a dependents visa, there's always quickie-divorce.com for when you're back.

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Thanks for the quick reply.  So if she can't come as a legal spouse (not getting married anytime soon) then would she be able to come on a tourist visa and look for jobs I've been hearing mixed things about this some say that is illegal to do but how is it possible to find work on the ground in China if you need a job to get a visa before hand?  It would most likely be easier for us to find our own housing from the sounds of things.

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Yes she could go on a tourist visa, get a job and then change to a work visa. It may involve going to Hong Kong to get the new visa, but it's not difficult if the school helps arrange the medical test and the paperwork.

 

The thing is, the smaller the town the less autonomy you have, so they might be unhappy about letting you live independently. You might be better off going to a larger place that isn't cosmopolitan, e.g Guiyang, where you'll be able to have a more independent life, and there are more opportunities.

 

By the way, the cushy jobs are the ones at government schools and universities, but they will tend to allow less autonomy and so might be a problem. The private language schools involve much longer hours and fewer holidays, but they probably don't care what you do in your free time or where you live.

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anonymoose
The private language schools involve much longer hours and fewer holidays, but they probably don't care what you do in your free time or where you live.

 

And they also pay a lot more.

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Perhaps your girlfriend would be able to study Chinese and come on a student visa while you work. Depending where you live, you can find some Chinese courses with pretty cheap tuition.

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Awesome thanks for the advice.  I think I am just going to find a job before hand and then she can try to find one there.  As far as places to teach english I have been doing some searching on here for options of where to go (and maybe I just am not searching right) but I haven't find found much about "smaller" or "average" sized city's in the southern part of China that would be nice to live in (weather, we live in Canada currently and would like a change of climate next fall) also I am looking for a 6 month contract which seems tough to find I am wondering if I should apply to the jobs with 1 year contracts then talk to them when they get back to me.  Also if you could steer me in the right direction of different schools in the southern area that any of you have taught at (or a link to another thread discussing this).  I do have a bachelors degree in education and have been substitute teaching this past year so I have some experience and plan on talking to my employer before getting my TEFL certificate.  Thanks for any advice I would go through a recruiter but have heard they are shady and rip you off for the most part so asking questions on here seems alot safer and easier!

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  • 1 year later...

Hey just wanted to update this since I have been to China (Beijing) taught at FirstLeap English School and have now returned back home to Canada.  First of all being unmarried and living together was not a problem as they provided us with a living allowance and helped us find a place with a Chinese-English interpreter.  There were also many other couples living toghether that were not married so definetly not a problem.  Second of all she did not have a university degree but we both had part of a TEFL certificate (we were currently doing it but they did not really care about it) when we were hired prior to leaving Canada.  We had to do 2 online interviews which were weird but gave us alot of information on the company.  We only ever half finished our TEFL certificate as we already had the job and time ran out on our course.  Once we got to Beijing the culuture shock happened immidietaly but lucky for us they had someone there to pick us up from the airport and they put us up in shared living apartment while we got 3 weeks of training.  We did only have a tourist visa when we arrived (it was a double entry 90 day visa).  It was okay for us to work under this tourist visa because the company had paid off the government to let it slide.  The reason they do not issue work visas before you get there is becuase it is very expensive for the company to do without knowing if you will actually come and work for them.  However about a month before we got there a couple of English teachers at our school did get arrested for working illegally with a tourist visa but since then they paid off the highest level of government and there was not a problem after that.  Anyways we worked for a couple months then flew to Taiwan but we screwed up our flight dates and needed to get a 2 week extension on our tourist visa.  Our FirstLeap Visa lady helped us get an extension but was unsure if they would let us because it is up to the person working if we get one our not.  We luckily did and did not have to cancel our trip to Taiwan.  However we screwed up again on our extension and it was for the day before our flight.  Therefore we overstayed our visa by one day but they did not say anthing when we left the country so we thought we were okay.  Once we returned to the country we stayed for another couple months (still working on tourist visa) they paid for us to go to HongKong (actually did not pay for my girlfriends flight because she did not have a degree? which was weird but whatever)  Once in Hong Kong we went to get our working visas (finally after about 6 months of working illegally)  the man said we overstayed our visa when we went to Taiwan and we could not get a working visa until we show him a piece of paper that had a warning on it from when we left for Taiwan.  We did not have a piece of paper they just let us through, so once we explained we were good to go.  We got back to China with no problems luckily but we were working illegally for long then we were workin legally.  All in all FirstLeap was a great company and I would recommend to first time English teachers going to Beijing.  And no it does not matter if you have a degree (they will make a fake one for you) does not matter if you have TEFL and does not matter your age (supposed to be atleast 25 I think?)  Anyways they need English teachers and will pay the government off to get you over there working.  It was sketchy but literally everyone we knew there was doing the same thing.

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