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Turbocabbage

Applying for work in China on tourist visa?

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Turbocabbage

Hi guys.

My name is Josh and I am currently on a round the world tour by bicycle, and I have been in China for the last two months. Since arriving in China I have decided I would really like to teach English for a year here. I need the money to continue my trip next year and I would love to learn more about the country and language.

So, I have been looking at teaching jobs for the last few days. I have been offered a position with a company called METEN. I have looked them up and they seem fairly legit.

I am currently in China on a two year tourist visa. To apply for a work visa I would need to get my original degree certificate and criminal record check sent over from the UK, then make a trip to the British embassy of in Hong Kong to apply for the visa. This whole process, including the work visa processing time will probably take at least two months. METEN have told me that it will be legal for me to start work and be paid on my tourist visa, as long as they give the relevant authorities notice that they have applied for my work visa.

Has anyone here had experience in a similar situation and can tell me that this really is the case? I certainly can't afford to wait for my work visa to be granted before I get paid. 

Also, for my accomadation, METEN have said that I would need to pay 3 months rent upfront plus a deposit, and that this is standard. I am highly reluctant to pay so much money upfront when METEN could tell me they didn't think I was suitable after a few days, or my work visa application could end up being rejected a couple of months down the line. Can anyone advise me if there are teaching jobs in China where the accomadation is provided as part of the salary, and no deposit or other set up costs are required?

Any advice is much appreciated, thanks a lot, Josh

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roddy
6 hours ago, Turbocabbage said:

METEN have told me that it will be legal for me to start work and be paid on my tourist visa, as long as they give the relevant authorities notice that they have applied for my work visa.

Ha. No. They might have an arrangement with the local authorities for a blind eye to be turned, but 'legal' is a stretch. I'd want to talk to an existing teacher, at the same site, who'd done the same thing, and even then I'd be reluctant.

 

6 hours ago, Turbocabbage said:

METEN have said that I would need to pay 3 months rent upfront plus a deposit, and that this is standard.

It's standard for private rentals. If they're just helping you find a private rental, then yes, that's how it works. If they or the school own the accommodation, they can do what they want.

 

Edit: Also, watch out for them pushing you towards a particular private landlord or agency. It's very common for kickbacks to be in operation and you may be better off doing it independently.

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889

How does four months' rent compare to the salary?

 

The concern -- apart from their obvious twisting the explanation of Chinese law -- is that after two months they'll tell you, whoops!, it is in fact illegal for them to hire and pay you. Out you go, unpaid for two months' work. And holding rent receipts on an apartment no longer of use to you. Of course you can't easily go the PSB in that situation.

 

Take care reading reviews of places like METEN, which operate throughout China. It's the local boss who determines whether it's a good place to work, so good reviews in one city don't mean much elsewhere.

 

Finally, you get 90 days on your current UK visa, and that'll be up in a month; how do you propose to deal with that? It doesn't look like the paperwork for a trip to the Visa Office of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong will be ready by then.

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Turbocabbage

Hi, thanks for the replies. The four months rent upfront is nearly as much as a months wage, much more than I can afford right now. I have emailed METEN and explained that I can't afford it. They have told me that they will help me look at flatshares, lodging and other options which don't have massive setup costs. 

 

My current tourist visa is valid for two years, each entry is a maximum of 90 days. By the 20th of March I will have to make a visa run to Hong Kong to begin a new entry.

 

I'be done some research online and confirmed that working on a tourist visa is definitely illegal. However some people do seem to come to China to teach on tourist visas and apply for the work visa later and get away with it, as described in this article http://middlekingdomlife.com/guide/china-english-teacher-visas.htm

 

However I am reluctant to do it as without a legal visa I am very open to exploitation. As you guys ms have pointed out, the school could screw me around with pay, contract etc and know that I could do nothing about it. I have found that this review of METEN http://www.chinasquat.com/china-advice/meten-english-review and they sound reasonably professional. But still, working illegally, I have reservations. Do you guys know of anyone who worked on a tourist visa in China and had a good experience?

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mackie1402
9 hours ago, Turbocabbage said:

Do you guys know of anyone who worked on a tourist visa in China and had a good experience?

 

Anyone know a thief who made a good profit? Or a murderer that never got caught? See what it sounds like? Whether a good or bad experience, it's illegal. It all comes with risk/reward for you. Pay rent up front and get caught working illegally the first week? What might you want in the future? Getting caught would definitely throw your future in China into doubt. After being in China 2 months you decided to stay for a year. What if after 6 months you decide to make it a long term thing, but suddenly don't have the option because of the visa choice.

 

20 hours ago, Turbocabbage said:

Since arriving in China I have decided I would really like to teach English for a year here. I need the money to continue my trip next year and I would love to learn more about the country and language.

 

This is kind of one of the reasons the visas are getting more and more restrictions. A lot of people who have no intention of teaching English, nor the experience or qualifications, see it as a way of living in China to fund their travels. I've actually got many friends who teach English here and only a tiny percentage of them know what they're doing. The rest are just burning holes in Chinese families wallets. Shame really!

 

I would definitely recommend coming to China. The country and language are great! Why not enroll at a University here? You can do 1 or 2 semester of language study here. Most of them are 3-4 hours a day Monday to Friday. The X1 student visa would give you a residence permit for 1 year, allowing you to have multiple entries if you wanted to travel. I'm sure you're allowed to work on an X1 visa part time, too! Someone will have to confirm that though. This way you'll be learning the language, making friends in the same situations, have accommodation (student dorm), and have a legal visa for 6 months to a year. Good luck with what you choose!

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LinZhenPu
19 hours ago, Turbocabbage said:

However some people do seem to come to China to teach on tourist visas and apply for the work visa later and get away with it

Some? Try most. Ask any teacher who has been in China for a long time and they'll tell you most are working like this.

10 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

Anyone know a thief who made a good profit? Or a murderer that never got caught?

I do but that's besides the point. I don't think teaching English in China on a tourist visa can be compared with that, not by a long shot. Teaching English in Thailand on a tourist visa would be a big no no.

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