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Finding a full time contract
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nickc88



Joined: 17 Feb 2016
Posts: 9
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:46 pm    Post subject: Finding a full time contract Reply with quote

Hi all, I'm a long-time reader, first time poster. I have a few questions which I tried to find specifically by reading other threads but couldn't get a good grip on.

First, some background: I'm 27, male, teacher with BA, MFA and CELTA certification. I've taught ESL in NYC & Montreal. I'm also a published novelist. My resume is pretty strong I think, with good experience and qualifications for my age. *I know that Poland is not the highest playing place and I don't particularly care. I want to go for the culture and experience, not for the money. I make enough money with my gigs in NYC.*

I want to go to Warsaw for a semester here, a semester there type of approach. From what I've read, the main problems will be: that rather than getting one single contract with a school, I'll have to do gigs for different appointments through different schools. I want to try and avoid this and find one single 20-30 hour contract. How likely is this with prior experience? Or do you necessarily *have* to build up a schedule through different appointments? What would you say is the ratio of teachers who have a contract with one school compared to people traveling to appointments in different areas each day? Which is more common?

Now, financially, I've read that you can make about 4000pln a month if you find a contract. How much does this vary? Also, I read in some of the other threads about how little this is, blah blah, and how you can't live in a European city in 15-20USD per day - nonsense. I plan on finding a room in the center (I'm used to living with roommates) which a friend told me runs about 1500pln per month, so as long as the salary is around 4000pln per month, or thereabouts it seems okay. I completely understand that if I wanted to make and save a lot more money I should go to the Middle East or Asia. I'm not interested in doing that right now so I don't want that to be a part of the discussion. I'm more interested in learning about the payscale as it relates to the cost of living there.

My last question is about getting a visa sponsorship. If you don't find a full time contract, how does it work regarding each school to sponsor you for work for their clients? Do you have to only get one visa, or do you have to get a visa with each school that gets you private appointments?

Okay wait one more question - I also read that the semester starts in September and January. So if you're looking for work, you should realistically plan on coming over either in August or December, correct? Or could you come in January and still find work for that semester?

Thanks for your replies!!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I want to go to Warsaw for a semester here, a semester there type of approach. From what I've read, the main problems will be: that rather than getting one single contract with a school, I'll have to do gigs for different appointments through different schools.


This is pretty much unrealistic. Look at it from a school's point of view. They allocate you a workload, then have to give it to someone else, then you want it back, in 3/4 month rotation.

Not to mention housing, visa stuff in case you overstay 90 days, and other logistical difficulties.

Your creds are ok, but not so outstanding that a school's going to jump through the considerable legal and logistical hoops to hire you on a semester-in, semester-out basis.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1489
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can get a visa, then it is OK.
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ManOfTwoLands



Joined: 22 Nov 2015
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly I don't see that the qualifications matter much. There are people teaching in Poland with zero qualifications earning 3,000 - 4,000 Zloty. I don't think the TEFL market needs people with impressive resumes. And maybe some of the more experienced members of this sub-forum can correct me if I'm wrong on this but I think Polish schools generally prefer candidates with an EU passport.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The EU passport means that visas are unnecessary, so definitely preferred. That said, there are numerous non-EU member citizens working in the region; it's legally feasible so long as they and their employers don't mind jumping through the legal hoops- unlike in most of Western Europe.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1543
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:53 am    Post subject: manof2 Reply with quote

ManofTwo has it right. Qualifications never meant Jack in Poland unless you wanted to be an underpaid DOS.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 626

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with all of the above. Getting Americans legal in Warsaw is a particular hassle right now because the immigration office is incredibly backed up. it takes at least around 6 months to even think of getting your residency card. I really don't see why a school would hire you for only a semester. Your best bet would be to just come and do privates, overstay your visa and leave, you might get a small fine or something at the airport. Working legally on a semester to semester basis as an American is basically a no-go unless you just do a runner.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Your best bet would be to just come and do privates, overstay your visa and leave, you might get a small fine or something at the airport.


It can be a small fine (or nothing) but it can also mean anything up to a 10-year ban from entering any Schengen zone country. Overstaying puts you at the mercy of whatever petty bureaucrat happens to be working the desk on the given day. I do know of cases where people have been caught, deported, and banned long-term for 'crimes' as minor as a month or two overstay.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1196
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:58 pm    Post subject: options Reply with quote

Hi nickc,

It sounds like you've done your research and are asking the right questions.

As others have mentioned, finding a school that will hire you on a full-time EU contract (and help with visa/residency card) will be more difficult as an American. It's not impossible and there are a few schools that actually prefer Americans (e.g. Academy of New York). However, I don't think any school will go through the trouble if you tell them that you only plan to stay for a semester. Also, you will have difficulty finding a place to live if you're not willing to sign a 1-year lease.

If you go the company/contractor route, you still need a school to take out a work permit on your behalf and write a statement that they intend to employ you for a significant number of teaching hours per week. Once you set this up, you can work for any other school you want; you just invoice them as a contractor for work done. So this approach offers more flexibility.

A third possibility is to just do a visa-run to Ukraine mid-semester to restart your 90-days, and work on a cash-only basis. This would mean less job security and less potential work, and there is technically a rule against doing visa runs like this (though last I heard, never enforced). But this may be the best option if you just want to 'try out' teaching in Poland.

I hope this helps,

-Shake
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A third possibility is to just do a visa-run to Ukraine mid-semester to restart your 90-days, and work on a cash-only basis. This would mean less job security and less potential work, and there is technically a rule against doing visa runs like this (though last I heard, never enforced).


This used to be legal through the EU until the Schengen zone laws came into effect some years back. Now the official law reads that you must stay out of the zone for 90 days in order to re-start your 90 day visa-free status.

However, the rules may/may not always be enforced (they are far stricter in Western Europe). Given the rather volatile situation in today's Ukraine, I guess that either there is more scrutiny than in the past few years, OR the opposite - they have bigger fish to fry than a non-EU citizen overstaying a Schengen 90 day stay.

Personally I wouldn't take the chance as the penalties, if applied, are pretty arduous.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1543
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:57 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

That's put the kibosh on that then.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1196
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
This used to be legal through the EU until the Schengen zone laws came into effect some years back. Now the official law reads that you must stay out of the zone for 90 days in order to re-start your 90 day visa-free status.
I looked into this thoroughly a few years ago and even did 1 visa run to Ukraine myself. The deal is that Poland doesn't enforce the 90-days-in-90-days-out rule. However, as you mentioned, the other Schengen countries are another story; they may well enforce this rule. So you may be OK living in Poland for years doing visa runs, but you go down in flames when you get a random pp check in Germany.

Anyway, the OP should research this stuff thoroughly before trying it.
http://www.polishforums.com/ would be a good place to start. Things may have changed in the time since I did it, especially with the trouble brewing in Ukraine.
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nickc88



Joined: 17 Feb 2016
Posts: 9
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should address some of the misunderstandings in the replies. I don't mean that I expect a school to hire me for a semester (say, the winter/spring) and then unequivocally hire me for another semester a year later. I mean that I will be searching for a school to hire me for one semester. And then maybe I leave, maybe I don't. Maybe I come back later on for a semester at a different school. I understand why they wouldn't hire me on a semester-in-semester-out basis. Obviously if I were offered a contract for a semester it would remain unclear if they would take me back in year.

Are most contracts for 2 semesters rather than 1?

The thing is, that I have very good teaching work in NYC from mid-May until about November each year. So, the winter semester is ideal for me. Really I just want to get a contract or enough hours for that one semester.

I've been emailing schools in Warsaw/Krakow, Budapest and Prague and getting responses for interviews and the like - some of them include resources on how to get the visa. International House seems helpful regarding this.

Sparks - I am not talking about getting a residency card. I am not talking about getting a work visa as an American. Are these the same thing?

Master Shake -

"As others have mentioned, finding a school that will hire you on a full-time EU contract (and help with visa/residency card) will be more difficult as an American. It's not impossible and there are a few schools that actually prefer Americans (e.g. Academy of New York). However, I don't think any school will go through the trouble if you tell them that you only plan to stay for a semester. Also, you will have difficulty finding a place to live if you're not willing to sign a 1-year lease."

Okay, so I won't tell them that I only plan on staying for a single semester. That takes care of that. As for finding a place to live, aren't there sublets and the like? I've had friends show me listings groups on facebook (so crazy cheap - 200-300USD for a room in/near the center...) and I imagine some of these are monthly or sublets? Worst case scenario, there is AirBnB, where I've seen monthly listings for 300.

"If you go the company/contractor route, you still need a school to take out a work permit on your behalf and write a statement that they intend to employ you for a significant number of teaching hours per week. Once you set this up, you can work for any other school you want; you just invoice them as a contractor for work done. So this approach offers more flexibility. "

Great! So I just need to find one school to sponsor a work visa, basically, and the others I "invoice"? I was worried that each school had to sponsor for the visa if you had the type of schedule that is made up by different schools...

The visa run thing sounds risky and I would want to know for sure if they enforce the 90 days out rule before trying that. However I would rather just try to get a visa.

I've gotten a few email responses already offering 5-10 hours a week, but I don't know if they realize I don't have a visa. I was also offered to teach a 2 week intensive course in Prague because there was an unexpected vacancy, however it doesn't match up with the time I plan on being in Europe.

One question that hasn't been answered - if there Winter semester starts in January, should I definitely plan on coming in December to find openings?

Thanks for the help all!

Nick
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nickc88



Joined: 17 Feb 2016
Posts: 9
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also just read the during the open 90 day period, US nationals are permitted to work without a visa in Poland. Would this work necessarily be under the table? This seems like it would not be legal to work in another country without any kind of visa. But the resource is here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_Schengen_Area#Visa-free_stays_involving_paid_activity_in_the_Schengen_Area)

Or could I contract/invoice those hours to a school even without a visa? Either way, now I see why circumventing the 90 day rule would make things a lot easier. As far as that goes, it seems like leaving for a day to restart the 90 day cycle is still the norm:
http://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/7154/us-citizen-in-poland-more-than-90-days-in-a-180-day-period

Or getting a temp residence permit: http://www.polishforums.com/archives/2005-2009/travel/poland-stay-longer-days-already-18733/
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1196
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nickc,

I can see a few things working against your plan:

1) The spring semester in Poland is from January to late June. You say you have work from May to November. No school will be happy if you leave a month early.

2) There is a lot less work available for spring semester than fall. (Yes, you should come in December; start contacting schools even earlier.)

3) It will be a hassle to rent a room/apartment for 1 semester.

4) I already mentioned the visa/residency card issues (the residency card is essentially the visa), but I'll do it again since I think this is the biggest factor.

It's a shame we Americans can't dip into working in the EU easier, but we don't make it easy for Europeans working in the US either. That's reciprocity for you. I know of people who got busted and banned for working in Poland with no work permit (guy on this forum, in fact) so I wouldn't believe everything you read on Wikipedia.

If it's any consolation, I did exactly what you are trying to do (i.e. came to Gdansk to work spring semester) 9 years ago. So it can be done.
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