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Tricky situation at a newly opening School in China, HELP!
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kungfuman



Joined: 31 May 2012
Posts: 1398
Location: In My Own Private Idaho

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

choudoufu wrote:


is this you, hewlett?


hahahahahaha
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Luobi



Joined: 21 Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Location: China

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry those that think I'm being "trollish" or am lying to cause trouble, honestly seeking advice here, I not trying to be confrontational.

Just want to clarify that I do receive paid holidays, they are just the same holidays as administration and office staff not the school holidays that teachers receive. The school was upfront about this before I took the position (if nothing else) and I knew office work was part of the contract and this is not an issue for me.

Thankfully no one at the school has asked to hang onto my passport, but this doesn't excuse everything else that has happened.

Also only brought in the lawyer (who is not "my lawyer" but a friend who works as lawyer who thought he could help me negotiate with the school) after seeking to query the pay issue by myself, and the school refused to provide me any clarification and got mad at me for questioning them (didn't know where else to turn to).

Admittedly I was foolish/over-trusting in this position and should have consulted with a group such as this in the first place. if I've offended people it wasn't my intention, I'm really appreciative of the advice I've received here and admit the mistakes I made, as pointed out to me, were foolish.

Also want to clarify the "greed" part was born from working as a temporary replacement teacher back home while trying unsuccessfully to publish writing and also studying part-time.

Will give the school a "one strike" policy, anymore threats, late pay, or if the work visa doesn't happen in the next few days as promised I'll be out in an instant. Will use the advice given here not to get into this sort of position in the future. Once again much appreciated.

Cheers.
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Simon in Suzhou



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 246
Location: GZ

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The number 1 lesson to be learned here...If you are an experienced teacher and qualified to work in China DO NOT COME TO CHINA WITHOUT A Z-VISA IN HAND.

If you want to work in China, it's far better to take a job with a legitimate working visa, even if the pay is lower, to get your foot in the door, per se. If the job is not great, you can always put in your notice according to the contract and get a better job on the ground (as most of the good jobs are not really posted on the internet anyway).

If you are not qualified to teach here (no uni degree, etc), well, you're on your own with the sketchy end of the edutainment industry.
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 420
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Luobi wrote: Sorry those that think I'm being "trollish" or am lying to cause trouble, honestly seeking advice here, I not trying to be confrontational.

The advice has been given. choudoufu, kungfuman, johnpartee, Simon in Suzhou, fred13331 and Denim-Maniac have offered all of the advice you need.

LEAVE. NOW.

The sooner the better. The school has NO recourse of action against you because they violated the contract BEFORE you arrived at the school! They are employing you ILLEGALLY! At the very least, they have violated the part of the contract which reads that they will inform you of the laws, rules and regulations of the PRC, and help you to abide by those rules.

In this case, think of the school and the administrators associated with it as the voice of Evil Twisted Evil from your favorite horror movie (Poltergeist, Ammityville Horror, The Exorcist, etc.) and ... "GET OUT!"

If they give you any static, inform them that they are illegally hiring foreign workers, that they are ineligible to hire foreign workers and that you will report them to the proper authorities. Threatening to speak out and drop 500 pounds of "negative advertisement" on their institution is your biggest ally in this case.

Tell them to release you from your contract, pay you what they owe you, and be on your way -- 很快 (quickly)!

--GA
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west2east



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 120
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I echo what you say GreatApe - just to clarify, if a teacher is working on an 'L' visa, then in this situation, the school has NOT broken the contract. Why? Simply because an employment contract does not exist in law in the first place where an 'employee' is working on a 'L' visa.

Walk. Today.
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 420
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear what you're saying west2east ... and I understand exactly what you mean, but allow me to be COMPLETELY forthcoming and to tell you all a little story:

I worked on an "L" visa for the first 4 months that I lived and worked in China (back in 2010), while the first school I ever worked for was filing the papers and patiently waiting for my "Z" Visa and F.E.C. to be finalized.

One "magical" day ... I was pulled out of a classroom BY THE POLICE, taken to the local police station and informed that I was breaking the law and that my school was violating the laws of the PRC by employing me as a teacher! ... Why? ... because an "L" visa is NOT a working "Z" visa.

Long story short, the Training Center where I was working bought the cops an expensive lunch. We then went to the police station after lunch, where I was questioned (through a translator) for two hours and informed not to do what I had been doing ever again! The school was fined 5,000 RMB (on top of the cost of the lunch) ... and I did not work at the school again until the "Z" visa came through, about a week later.

Obviously, because I did not know I had been violating the laws and rules of the PRC at the time ... this experience was very disconcerting -- to say the least! After all, I HAD A CONTRACT and all of the necessary papers for the visa and F.E.C. had been filed! It did not matter. I still had to write and sign a letter to the police and put my red-inked thumbprint on my signature in front of a witness!

Within 4 months of receiving my first "Z" visa, I resigned my position at the school. I informed them that I was not comfortable working there because they had violated the section of my contract which read that they were responsible for informing and educating me as to the laws and rules of living and working in the PRC. If you've ever been pulled out of class by the police while your students watch ... well, let's just say it's a LITTLE uncomfortable.

Ironically, I ended up taking my "Z" visa and going to Guangxi, where I lived and worked on my Guangdong Residency Permit for about 6 months ... this is ALSO ILLEGAL! Again, I did not know --at that time-- that I was not supposed to work on a "Z" visa from a different province. I thought I could wait until it expired and then renew it for Guangxi. My boss told me a new visa would not be a problem and that he would pay for it.

However ...

When the Guangdong "Z" visa and R.P. expired, I went back and forth from Guangxi to HK two times for new "L" visas, so I could continue to work. Why? ... because my Chinese boss in Guangxi (whose school was not eligible or qualified to get foreign teachers a "Z" visa) assured me that working in Guangxi on an "L" visa is NOT illegal because Guangxi is an Autonomous Region and "they have their own rules."

I suppose he was technically correct and I never had a problem, but I didn't stay around for very long after my original "Z" visa ran out because I had no desire to find out if he was being 100% honest with me, or if he was just telling me what he knew I wanted to hear and using me to make money. It also didn't make much sense to teach on a yearly contract with a three month visa! I hated the feeling of not having a year-long visa for which I was more than qualified.

After all of this "education" and first-hand experience, I vowed never to live in the "Land of Technicalities" again. Nowadays, I refuse to work on anything less than a "Z" visa. As a teacher, I am qualified to receive a "Z" visa and a Resident's Permit. Whether the school is qualified or not is another matter entirely!

Last year, I went back to the states with the paperwork from the school where I currently work and I got my second "Z" visa at the Chinese Consulate. I will renew that "Z" visa again later this year, but my "experimentation" period is over (as is the Honeymoon)!

In my opinion, the technicalities of it are not at all useful to newbies ... if I had it all to do over again, I would not set foot in China to live and work without a "Z" visa -- period! It Covers Your Ass (C.Y.A.!) as a teacher and it tells you A LOT about the capabilities (or lack thereof) of the school which wants to employ you.

As Simon in Suzhou said,
Quote:
The number 1 lesson to be learned here...If you are an experienced teacher and qualified to work in China DO NOT COME TO CHINA WITHOUT A Z-VISA IN HAND.

Warning to newbies thinking of coming to China!: IGNORANCE is NOT an excuse for violating the law, and ... ASSUMING things is just NOT A GOOD IDEA!

At this point, let me qualify ALL OF THIS by saying that this is merely my personal experience and my .02 cent contribution to the subject. "Other teachers' experiences living and working and trying to survive in China MAY VARY!" Wink

--GA
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Bat_Guano



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Location: Medan

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A brave confession, GA...

So I will add to that with my own: I have taught in three countries in the last three years - the first was China - since I started teaching EFL, and in exactly NONE of the cases did I come to the country with a legal working visa in hand. Broken down briefly below,

1) China - came on L visa, the school actually said that I should come with a Z visa (this was in the summer of 2010) but it took them so long in getting the documents to post to me that I told them, about ten days before I left, that if they couldn't get the paperwork to me in time I would just get an L and come ahead, as I had already bought my ticket to Beijing. At first they advised me to change my ticket and when I asked them who was going to pay the exhorbitant change fee, they went quiet... so I got the L (the day before I left the US) and came ahead. They initiated process to get my Z visa shortly after I arrived in Xinjiang (I started teaching about three weeks after my landing in Beijing). When my 60 day L was a week from expiry, I was shipped off by bus to the prefecture Capital Karamay and came back with an F Visa (business).... another month later - almost 90 days in-country - my passport was brought back from Urunuqi with a Residence permit sticker inside and I was given my Foreign Expert License. I never got a Z Visa sticker in my passport and my F visa was cancelled when my RP and FEL were issued. When I asked about the Z Visa itself I was told that since the Z Visa is merely the proper permit to enter the country to work and the normal prerequisite to obtaining the RP and FEL, and as I hadn't had to leave the country to get those the Z Visa was now irrelevant - which seems to make more or less perfect sense. I have no idea if all this was done "properly" (and what does that mean exactly in PRC), but the result was that the school got the necessary papers done for me and I was never hassled by Public Affairs or anyone about my status... that said this was in the boonies in Xinjiang and the comments that were made in another thread I think, about a lot depending on the place and the relative availability of foreign "experts" probably hold very true. I know that a couple of FT's who came to my school in the Spring term also came on L Visas and that they were sent to Hong Kong, I think twice in fact and it was a giant cluster(bomb), I think that was because of a rules change in the interim, or the sudden enforcement of a prior rules change, or sommat.

2) Taught in a two-week English Intensive Camp in Turkey, on a tourist visa, with no hassles. From what I know and read it is still quite common to teach on tourist visas in Turkey - not saying that means it's an okay and smart thing to do, just that it is commonly done. Many schools there do not want to bother the hassle and expense of getting proper paperwork for their teachers. If it hadn't been a two week gig for me I would have been much more concerned about it of course.

3) I came to Indonesia on a TV and taught on it for the first couple of months, at considerable risk to myslef and the school. I did this because the school seemed almost desperate to get me here, and I was concerned about losing the job if I didn't come. Repeat, in this case the school ASKED me to come and start teaching on a TV. Again, I wound up with legal papers and no bad consequences, unlike GA and presumably many, many others who've been caught. In NO way do I intend this information as a suggestion that it is smart / advisable / "cool" or any other positive attribute to do this. It should be avoided and I have just been randomly lucky and / or the right somebody was looking after me OR the Wrong Somebody was looking somewhere else at the moment... in any case I definitely agree with those who have said, like Simon-in_suzhou, "Don't do it". And the OP in this thread has definitely done a somewhat foolish thing imo, compounded by the apparent reluctance of said Op to heed the words or wisdom here... if you don't have Z Visa/ residence permit/FEL you have absolutely NO legal standing... NO legal contract... No ANYTHING... so if you wind up in a dodgy position, even if things just don't smell right... do NOT wait for Good Luck or Best Intentions to turn things in your favor, and DO NOT think that your own honest and good intentions and commonsense attitude and compromising nature and all of that will somehow rub off on your employers, and you'll all play Little House on the Prairie together... take the advice given and GET OUUUUUUTTTTTT. Smile
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 420
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting information, Bat_Guano, very practical, pragmatic advice as well ... thanks for sharing!

I know experiences vary according to the individual, according to the school, according to the regian, according to the year and the season and the weather, but if people coming here want to be safe and cover their posteriors ... the "Z" visa is the way to go.

I know, for example, that it's NOT UNCOMMON for schools to notify the authorities about the FTs and activities of other schools who they are in direct competition with for students, classes and money! I know some Training Centers in Guangdong do this because that is what happened to me.

Have you ever had a student in a demonstration class ask you about your visa or your qualifications? Have you ever had a student who --meeting you for the very first time-- seemed overly and particularly interested in how/when you came to China and how you're living and working here?

I'm not much of a Conspiracy Theorist and I never have been. I'm not saying ALL students who ask these questions are "plants" and working or auditing the class for other schools, but I AM saying ... IT HAPPENS! I know because two of the three schools I worked for did it (and had it done to them in return).

Yes, if you are warned and have the chance, you can go the denial route and say you're ONLY A VOLUNTEER, but if there is a money trail, a salary slip or a written record -- you may have serious problems. If the school where you teach is open and approachable from all sides, you may not get any warning that someone is about to take a very active interest in you.

Newbies: play it safe! ... get your documents in order before you arrive and/or before you begin working and teaching. You'll sleep better at a night.

--GA
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NoBillyNO



Joined: 11 Jun 2012
Posts: 1762

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
you can go the denial route and say you're ONLY A VOLUNTEER,


Don't Lie! Mostly this kind of thing can be worked out but not if you act the fool and start off by disrespecting them.
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GreatApe wrote:
....I know, for example, that it's NOT UNCOMMON for schools to notify the authorities about the FTs and activities of other schools who they are in direct competition with.....

.....you can go the denial route and say you're ONLY A VOLUNTEER....


if the competition is trolling your classes to find illegal aliens, then saying
you're only a volunteer won't help. it's not legal to volunteer on a tourist
visa. you've just given them a reason to deport you.
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 420
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand what you're saying NoBillyNO and choudoufu and I DO NOT advocate for lying at all. Neither do I advocate for working on anything less than a "Z" visa.

However, DEPENDING on where you work, I have known foreigners to do both. One example, Yangshuo ... a second example, schools located outside of a major city where the campus is relatively isolated and/or has a security entrance. It's not uncommon.

Also, the competition is NOT trolling your classes to locate illegal aliens. They're trolling classes because they're in competition for students.

--GA
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