Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Held up letter of invitation?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> China (Job-related Posts Only)
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Heliogobbelus



Joined: 06 Aug 2013
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:25 pm    Post subject: Held up letter of invitation? Reply with quote

Hallo All, I'm near the end of the z-visa process for a job that seems all but sewn up (cf. my post on Taiyuan Normal University) but have hit what seems to be an unnecessary stone wall. Apparently the uni has the work permit in hand but my contact at the school says he's now waiting on the letter of invitation. I heard this from him early last week and sent a query on Monday seeing if anything had changed. No response and it's Friday. My understanding is the LoI is just a govt form to be filled out by the school and sent to me for bundling with the package to be sent to the consulate, and no boggydowny govt processing needs doing in China with this piece of paper. Am I correct in thinking the only office holding this up is at the university?

Also, is it usual for the work permit process to take over 1 month after all my documents have been sent to the provincial office in China? Or does my school simply lack weighty guanxi?

Originally I was supposed to arrive at the start of Sept, then the middle of Sept, then the beginning of Oct and now I'm wondering if it's going to be pushed back AGAIN. It's a good thing I'm bunking at my parents' place, otherwise these constant delays would've ruined me...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3233

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Am I correct in thinking the only office holding this up is at the university?


That is not correct. The Letter of Invitation is issued by the government.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BlueBlood



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 261

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another example of the value of this board.

I'll be in a situation early next year wherein I'm renting out my house before I leave for China. Once rented, I've got to be gone. Period. Something like this could be a major problem as I cannot afford to live in hotel for weeks on end (much less months) waiting for a bloody visa.

Even though I speak Mandarin, it seems I've much to learn about China. The reality is they need English teachers, the pay is low, and less than 1% of native English speakers would consider moving to China to teach ESL. Ergo, they should be making the process easy on us.

Confused
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1512
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, I've had to wait for z-visa supporting docs at least three times that I can count, and it never gets any better for me. I hate waiting for something that I've already done my part for (in supplying the needed information / proofs). Just like the Internet, the delays you've experienced could be happening at any point in your new school or in the agencies they must petition. You'll likely not know even if you stick around that school a few years. They need the work permit to get the Visa Notification/"invitation letter" but it's two different agencies to deal with and different stupid can happen at both places. (Or your school may have inexperienced or just incompetent people working on your visa.)

One thing is likely: the department(s) that will be using your services (foreign language department, business, tourism or whatever) is probably applying pressure on the FAO department to get 'er done. They have to tell the students that the teacher hasn't arrived and possibly supply grumbling Chinese teachers to your classes. The look of excitement on your students' faces at your foreign face when you finally arrive will almost make the delay seem worth it. Almost.......

Oh, and (obviously?) don't buy your air ticket until you have a visa in hand or at the very least the docs they send you (I've had them mis-delivered) and a medical check (if necessary where you are) on the approved form. Of course that will make the tickets more expensive than if you could have planned. So don't be pressured to get the next flight no matter what- get the next convenient flight at a reasonable price, unless the school is reimbursing the flight and not just giving you a end of contract stipend which may not cover the full price.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sui jin



Joined: 08 Feb 2008
Posts: 184
Location: near the yangtze

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say , yes it is quite normal for the process to take so long, especially in August ,when school offices are closed, and in September /October when all offices are closed for the autumn festival/national day holidays.
(Same applies in the Spring festival holidays (Jan /Feb).)

All unis and govt offices will have a week off at the beginning of October , so factor that in to your waiting time for the letter of invitation.

Of course it is true that China needs more foreign teachers , but bearing in mind the problems that can occur and have occurred with troublemaking FTs here, you can see why the government might not worry about speeding up/easing the process - visa processing is getting more difficult and with more hoops to jump through.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BlueBlood



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 261

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, guys, here's my general timeline. Any thoughts or input helpful, with advance thanks to NS who already floated a couple ideas.

I'm going to China for a holiday/scouting trip in December. My ideal situation to actually permanently move would be springtime next year.

It sounds like planning well ahead, and applying for jobs starting in the spring now is not realistic?

Also, in the unlikely event I cannot leave the States by the spring, what would be your thoughts on me just hanging on here until next Fall? In terms of the FT job market, not my domestic situation, of course Wink .Not my preference, but it could happen.

Relatedly, I've already seen so many job postings for tutors and language mills. Many say FT need "asap"--How on Earth does that work if FT's need Z-visas from their home country? I'm nothing special, but know how to dress and talk, and have a decent resume. To wit, I'm expecting offers to start working straight away in December--"illegally." I cannot and would not do that, but it'll be interesting if it happens.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1512
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlueBlood wrote:
OK, guys, here's my general timeline. Any thoughts or input helpful, with advance thanks to NS who already floated a couple ideas.

I'm going to China for a holiday/scouting trip in December. My ideal situation to actually permanently move would be springtime next year.

It sounds like planning well ahead, and applying for jobs starting in the spring now is not realistic?

Also, in the unlikely event I cannot leave the States by the spring, what would be your thoughts on me just hanging on here until next Fall? In terms of the FT job market, not my domestic situation, of course Wink .Not my preference, but it could happen.

Relatedly, I've already seen so many job postings for tutors and language mills. Many say FT need "asap"--How on Earth does that work if FT's need Z-visas from their home country? I'm nothing special, but know how to dress and talk, and have a decent resume. To wit, I'm expecting offers to start working straight away in December--"illegally." I cannot and would not do that, but it'll be interesting if it happens.


For a language school that timing is ok, since they don't rely on the school calendar for hiring (but work around public school schedules). Public schools and universities may be wrapping up their spring term (generally late February to start) hiring, if needed. Of course, some won't find out that they need a replacement hire until spring term. If you want to work at a uni and you run across a good one that is looking for teachers, it could work out. You might try to make a few contacts in November before you go to China, especially in areas you are considering. If you find a match, then they could send the documents to your home address whether you have arrived back or not.

I think if you have the time and the money, a scouting trip is a good idea, and especially if you can make some contacts ahead of time to check out.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2537
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

roadwalker wrote:
BlueBlood wrote:
OK, guys, here's my general timeline. Any thoughts or input helpful, with advance thanks to NS who already floated a couple ideas.

I'm going to China for a holiday/scouting trip in December. My ideal situation to actually permanently move would be springtime next year.

It sounds like planning well ahead, and applying for jobs starting in the spring now is not realistic?

Also, in the unlikely event I cannot leave the States by the spring, what would be your thoughts on me just hanging on here until next Fall? In terms of the FT job market, not my domestic situation, of course Wink .Not my preference, but it could happen.

Relatedly, I've already seen so many job postings for tutors and language mills. Many say FT need "asap"--How on Earth does that work if FT's need Z-visas from their home country? I'm nothing special, but know how to dress and talk, and have a decent resume. To wit, I'm expecting offers to start working straight away in December--"illegally." I cannot and would not do that, but it'll be interesting if it happens.


For a language school that timing is ok, since they don't rely on the school calendar for hiring (but work around public school schedules). Public schools and universities may be wrapping up their spring term (generally late February to start) hiring, if needed. Of course, some won't find out that they need a replacement hire until spring term. If you want to work at a uni and you run across a good one that is looking for teachers, it could work out. You might try to make a few contacts in November before you go to China, especially in areas you are considering. If you find a match, then they could send the documents to your home address whether you have arrived back or not.

I think if you have the time and the money, a scouting trip is a good idea, and especially if you can make some contacts ahead of time to check out.

Good comments RW. The 'asap' guys will often be the 'come on a tourist (L) visa' guys as well.
Until we get some definitive answers about which provinces can get the correct (Z) visa in HK then I would still treat changing from L to Z in HK with care or indeed any assurance that the school can organise a change for you.
It would be a pity for the care OP is showing over this project, to be jeopardised by attempting a dodgy visa switch.
Coming to a good arrangement with an employer in December and having the offer documents sent to your home to await your return is a sensible approach.
Time enough to get yourself organised to be back for a start after Spring Festival in Feb.
As has been mentioned many x the big drawback is cost but OP is already committed to that.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Powell



Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 1433

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Heliogobbelus (the OP):

While it is normal for letters of invitation to be held up, my experience is that it isn't the norm for starting dates to change. While it's possible that someone went to sleep and didn't apply for the letter of invitation in a timely manner, it's also possible that the school (even though it seems to be a public university) may not be authorized to apply for the letter of invitation because the FAO was newly-installed and inexperienced/incompetent. I've see this happen at my own school. Important decisions were made by the FAO of another neighboring university. I couldn't understand why it took so long for my school's FAO to answer simple questions. This was why. It also explained why pay was always ten days late. It had to go through the other school first, and late pay was just another way of showing the FTs (and the young FAO) who was boss. I learned from a Chinese teacher that the person whom I believed to be the FAO of my school was actually just a seat warmer.

The above-described situation may not apply, but the fact that the starting date continues to be pushed back is worrisome. Even if the school gets its act together tomorrow, I'd think long and hard before I'd proceed further with the process. You don't know what other problems may arise when you arrive at the school.

There are many job openings throughout China and there will be more for the spring term.

To Blueblood:

If you have the money (and the time) a fall scouting trip may be worthwhile, if for no other reason than to see if the cities you are considering working suit you. The only problem that I see is that you could be wasting your time if no openings are anticipated at a given school (more likely at a university than a language mill), or if no one at the schools where you want to work will even want to talk to you. China is not the Land of Milk and Honey, and it is certainly no Love Machine for FTs (unless , of course, the school hasn't been able to fill a position for months). Just walking in on an FAO or a school owner is no guarantee that you'll get a chance to talk to anyone. Be businesslike and call ahead or (better yet) set up an appointment before you leave your country. That maneuver may not get you an audience (even if you get a positive response), but if there's no one there to talk to you, at least your arrival will be no surprise. You may get a lunch and a tour of the campus out of it.

Also, consider the costs. I don't know where your point of departure might be, but I estimate that the cost of such a scouting trip might cost $3-4,000 (or more, depending upon plane far, and upon how well you plan and how lucky you are in finding inexpensive hotels that will even be able to host a foreigner; you might want to enlist the help of one of the forum members who find it very easy to hop on a train and get things done in an astonishingly short period of time with almost no hassle. (There really are such talented people on this forum. Ask around).


Last edited by Bud Powell on Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:31 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BlueBlood



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 261

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rw, NS, and Bud, thanks so much for your insights. Very valuable. I now understand that finding unis on a map, showing up and knocking on doors, won't necessarily lead to even a 20 minute chat with an FAO or FT.

On the website Qingdaonese, an FT in QD actually had two separate uni offers, and chose btw them. I'm efforting contact with him, but the site's sign-in is whacked and frankly their forums are about 5% as active as those here on Dave's.

Does February mark the beginning of the last term of the school year at most unis? If so, do most have summer terms?

I may not even be able to break out of here by February. If the calendar dictates more-or-less a February are Sept start, I need to that sooner rather than later. This forum has been amazing. I'm going to remember this and pay it forward on the other end.

Bud nailed it re the scouting trip. $3K U.S. minimum; $4K max. I can afford it, but it will be more scouting than holiday so I need to do work in advance to make it worthwhile.

Thanks, guys.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
haleynicole14



Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 122
Location: US

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, I don't know if anyone has mentioned yet that it is Mid-Autumn Festival this week. Most schools and businesses are closed at least Thursday through Saturday, to my understanding.

Also, out of curiosity since my boyfriend and I are looking for jobs now too, what are you doing about airfare since you aren't sure about your timeline? Are you going to buy it last minute after you get your visa taken care of? I don't see many other options but it seems like buying a ticket only a few days ahead of time would be more expensive.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bud Powell



Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 1433

PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see many other options but it seems like buying a ticket only a few days ahead of time would be more expensive.

Good admonition to keep track of time, HaileyNicole14.

That's the case probably better than 99% of the time. Once, when my visa arrived, I had exactly one week to buy my tickets. I almost died when i saw that the visa bore my first name and my middle name, but not my last name. It had to be overnighted back to the courier service and a new visa placed in my passport. (the visa service should have caught the error).

I called American Airlines, told them my problem, and their own ticket agent got me an excellent itinerary that would put me in China in two days with only two 90 minute layovers in the States and a direct flight to pudong.The price was competitive with what i would have paid had I booked a seat thirty days prior.

Moral: When things look bleak, don't freak. Keep looking for an answer. Sometimes, you'll prevail. Usually, calling the airline is the worst thing to do. In my case, the ticket agent was able to do something that the online automatic third-party ticket agents can't always do: find very recent cancellations.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
choudoufu



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

PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlueBlood wrote:
Does February mark the beginning of the last term of the school year at most unis? If so, do most have summer terms?


our spring festival vacation officially starts january 13. i plan to leave
as soon as i get exams graded and reported. probably around the 7th.

chinese new year will be january 31st, golden week will be the first week of
february. all things chinese will be closed, including embassies. check
their websites to confirm if you plan to apply for a visa then. don't expect
to get much (actually anything!) done during spring break.

calendar for 2014: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=2014&country=41

spring semester will begin (for our school) february 17.

in my exceedingly vast experience of working at two schools, there is
no summer session.

oh, yes.....don't forget we have the other golden week coming up.
national day on october first. another week of closure.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Heliogobbelus



Joined: 06 Aug 2013
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hokay, good to know, thanks folks! I remember well both the mid-autumn festivals I witnessed in Vietnam and am sad to be missing out on the moon cakes(well...not ALL of them...does China do the ones with the really salty candied duck egg filling too? blech). And for Vietnam the only thing that really changed during the festival was a night procession with dragon dances on the big day, and for the proceeding month loads of moon-cake booths popped-up all over the city. I guess they take it a bit more seriously in China. But ya, that might explain why the FAO hasn't responded to my e-mails in a week or so.

As for the plane ticket...yeaaahhhh, can't book that until the z-visa is in my hand, basically. Luckily my employment deal is pretty spiffy and I'll be getting reimbursed immediately. In fact, the Canadian college who's working with me on this side has just said they would give me the full travel allowance in a cheque that would pay for the whole return ticket. Previously I was to get reimbursed half in China and half at the end of the year for the plane tickets, but the college here is fully aware the university in China is dragging its feet so that the ticket will be $2k or some nonsense, and they've very kindly stepped in to effectively act as a no-interest credit lender for me.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BlueBlood



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 261

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's great news, Helios.

Re moon cakes and baozi, jaozi, and all manner of "surprise inside" Asian food, I'm very cautious these days.

Had a jaozi once years ago; was hungry and looking forward to it. Well, let just say sub-tropical heat and humidity, combined with lack of refrigeration are not a good combination for certain foods. Crying or Very sad
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> China (Job-related Posts Only) All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC