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Trollope

Worked illegally, overstayed visa, broke contract and survived

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Trollope

Hi, I just wanted to share my story for those of you in the situation we had or who may be wanting to head over and teach in China.  I am from Canada, if that helps anyone by the way, and we both worked for First Leap English Schools for 10 months.

 

First of all, I went with my girlfriend, who 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 culture shock happened immediately, but lucky for us they had someone there to pick us up from the airport and they put us up in shared living apartment(for free) while we got 3 weeks of paid 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 anything 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.(Just freaked out) We got back to China with no problems luckily, but we were working illegally for longer then we were workin legally.

 

All in all First Leap was a great company and I would recommend them to first time English teachers going to Beijing(or elsewhere; they are pretty big). 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.  Oh also they will forge resident permit(can't remeber the name) but you need one everytime your visa changes and since we were there illegally they forged ours the whole time until we got our working Z visa.

 

People also wonder what happens if you break your contract, well we originally were supposed to be there for 11 months, which was hard to do, but we convinced them thats the longest we could stay, we then decided we wanted to go travelling before we came home, so we gave them proper notice (like a month) and we just did not get our flight bonus for completing the contract we still got our last cheques after we were already gone and everything like that.  So hope some of that info will help people in the same sketchy situation.

 

Moderator note: I added paragraph breaks and some commas. Lu

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Trollope

Oh i forgot to mention I had a criminal record in Canada as well for drinking and driving at the time and it did not affect me getting the work visa or anything else.  As long as you dont have a criminal record in China it is all good.

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Trollope

I am just saying I wasn't the only one in this situation.  I am not praising First Leap for doing this I am saying this is what happened for future reference if others find themselves in the same situation.  They tell you everything will be okay but really it is pretty scary just saying we survived and others are still doing the same thing with no problems.  Is there other companies out there doing things the right way? Probably but considering our circumstances First Leap was still a good choice for us.

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imron

A quick suggestion.  You might try editing your original post to add some linebreaks and paragraphs.  That would make it much easier to read than the current wall of text.

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Simon_CH

 

 

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. 

 

I almost snorted out my coffee when I read this. So this went all the way to the Politburo, impressive. Your, ahem, review was a good laugh though, thanks for posting. 

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imron

Removed a few posts.  Please refrain from negatively attacking people, even if you think their actions were not all that sensible.

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Shelley

I don't understand why the OP has posted this, I hope its not to encourage other people to try this sort of dodgy stuff, or to make it seem easy to do.

The Op has also posted the same post in other, inactive topics with changes to make it appropriate, not sure why but that bothers me.

 

I wonder if First Leap English will ever read this? Wonder what their response would be.

 

I think that maybe this should be taken as a warning. Luckily for the OP it worked out but that may not be true for everyone.

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Chris Two Times

I agree with Shelley. One of my previous posts was one of those that was deleted, which is all right with me--I wasn't meaning to be too negative.

 

I really don't see what the point of the OP is either. The underlying message does seem to condone being a chancer and taking risks that merely induce stress--I don't think it's an appropriate message to spread to others but c'est la vie.

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

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edelweis

@trollope: is Trollope your last name?

where are you now and do you intend to work in China again in the future?

Your post was certainly informative.

What was the age range of your students? How many hours a week? How much was the pay?

Do you keep in touch with other foreign teachers there?

(I wonder what they think of your posts on this board...)

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889

"My company in Beijing -- its name was XYY Foundation -- was just great. If there were any problems at all, why they'd just pay off the officials to make them go away."

Chinese has a chengyu for just about everything. What's the one that describes this approach?

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Trollope

Yes Shelley, you are right I did post it in other topics that have not been active for awhile because before I left I was researching information and did not find anything. Also as I was going through these situations I could not find anything. So as I have stated previously, I have simply wrote this so others who may find themselves in the same situation can see what happened to us.

Do I think that what happened was a good thing? No. But it is an honest review of what happened and at the time we did not know any better. We were assured at the time that everything would be okay, and it was but it was sketchy. I understand that many of you over there right now or who have been there did things the right way and that's awesome, good for you. At the time we simply thought it was of the norm and what choice did we have but to fly back home then so we went with it.

So yes, DO NOT overstay your visa. DO work your full contract. DO have a degree, DO NOT have a criminal record at all, DO get a TEFL and DO get a Z visa before you start work there.

HOWEVER, if any of the situations occur like it did for myself, I have provided what happened for reference.

<admin edit>Removed a paragraph. I removed other people's snarky comments about you, and I expect you not to make snarky comments about them.

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