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License to teach esl in Mexico?
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peter kocal



Joined: 15 Feb 2003
Posts: 1
Location: edmontn, canada

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2003 8:35 pm    Post subject: License to teach esl in Mexico? Reply with quote

I know it is theoretically illegal to earn money in Mexico with only a tourist visa. But has anybody heard that this is being enforced? How much does this new FM 3 (or is it 4) cost? I do not have a BA and so I would be teaching in private schools, I guess. Could I make $4.50 an hour without going to Mexico City? How can they expect you to pay $200US every year if you do not have a BA and can only get low paying jobs? Can you even get this FM document without a BA? How much trouble could I get into? Could I get busted in Queretaro for teaching without one?
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Brenda



Joined: 13 Feb 2003
Posts: 48
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2003 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught in Leon, Guanajuato for a year and I don't have a BA. I've only got high school + 1 year college + TESOL certificate. This was enough for the Migración officials to issue me a FM3 but I also needed a letter from the school that hired me. I don't know how bad they are about keeping track of people working on tourist visas but personally I would not be one of those people who'd take the chance.
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2003 3:00 pm    Post subject: The law Reply with quote

As you stated, it is against the law for foreigners to work in Mexico on tourist visas. Yes, I have heard of teachers getting busted for working illegally. Each immigration office in Mexico is more or less its own entity in many ways. How strictly the work visa law is enforced depends a lot on the individual immigration office. Also, some immigration offices seem more flexible than others as for what they require (h.s. diploma, BA degree, TEFL certificate, etc.) to issue a work visa. Personally, I wouldn't work for any employer who was willing to employ me illegally.

You might be able to earn more than $4.50 USD per hour in locations outside of DF, but if you're working illegally, you have little recourse regarding how you're treated by the school, including your wages. For example, if a school director says he/she will pay you 50 pesos an hour and later changes it to 30 pesos per hour, there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. By the way, there are many qualified EFL teachers working in this country for $4.50 USD per hour or only slightly more and in some cases even less.

Regarding work visas, you asked the question, "How can they expect you to pay $200US every year if you do not have a BA and can only get low paying jobs?" Maybe they don't. Why would they want to lower the cost if that would encourage unqualified foreigners to come to this country to look for jobs?
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dan allan



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2003 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would'nt worry too much about working on the tourist visa; most teachers with papers break the laws in some way.
Yes, you can get the FM3 w/o a degree.
It would be possible to earn more than 45 Pesos per hour outside DF (mexico city).
As always, DF is the "pay king".
Contact me if you wish info on DF.
DAN.
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2003 12:44 pm    Post subject: Wondering Reply with quote

Quote:
I would'nt worry too much about working on the tourist visa; most teachers with papers break the laws in some way.
- Dan Allen


In my opinion, your advice is quite irresponsible, and your reasoning is ludicrous.

Dan, are you working in Mexico on a tourist visa?
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LM



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2003 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Ben. It is ludicrous to assume that everyone with papers is breaking the law in some way.
Breaking the law is still breaking the law no matter how you try to rationalize it. Working illegally leaves you at risk for lots of immigration problems and totally unprotected from employers who will most likely take advantage of you.

This question of whether or not to get a visa comes up over and over in these forums. It seems that those who post this question are looking for someone to console them and tell them it is O.K.

You would expect Mexicans to obey the law when they visit or live in your country, so why would you think you are above the law when you go to Mexico?

Just something to think about...
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2003 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LM wrote:
You would expect Mexicans to obey the law when they visit or live in your country, so why would you think you are above the law when you go to Mexico?


While I agree that everyone should obey the laws of their host country, this statement is ludicrous.

There are millions of illegal Mexicans in California alone. The Mexican government encourages illegal emigration to the US because a lot of money is sent into Mexico by those working illegally in the US. Mexican social services are also relieved of the burden of health care for all of these workers and of educating their children. The burden instead is placed on legal US residents and citizens.
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2003 12:45 am    Post subject: Paul G., I have to disagree with you on this one Reply with quote

Please read LM's quote carefully, Paul G. I think there's a misunderstanding of semantics here. Most American citizens do expect (meaning want, hope, or desire) Mexican citizens to obey U.S. laws, which is the way I interpreted LM's message. If I tell my students, "I expect you to do your homework," that means that I want/hope/desire it, not that I believe all of them will do it. You would expect as LM used it means the same as It is expected that.

A second point, if you have watched Mexican television during the last couple of years or so, then you realize that the Mexican government has all kinds of ads on TV discouraging Mexican citizens from entering the U.S. illegally, using everything from common-sense ads to those that border on scare tactics, in my opinion.

Another point is that I don't think you're very aware of what Mexican social services are like. There is next to nothing available to Mexicans in Mexico regarding free social services, so how can the government encourage its citizens to go to the U.S. illegally to avoid providing health care for its citizens? The Mexican government does a good enough job of avoiding the provision of free health care without having to send its citizens to the U.S.

And, finally, it sounds to me like you are somehow trying to defend foreigners who work illegally in Mexico on the grounds that two wrongs make a right. Are you saying that if Mexican citizens live and work in the U.S. illegally, then that somehow justifies it as okay for U.S. citizens to live and work in Mexico illegally? Please tell me that's not what you're saying.
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2003 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben:

I am in no way encouraging people to work illegally in any country. I thought my first sentence made that quite clear.

Vincente Fox came to California and campaigned here when he was running for President. Coyotes freely ply their services in every Mexican border town. They could be stopped by the Mexican police but they aren't. I haven't been to Mexico to watch TV there, so I don't know what kind of PR campaign the government has going on. (I'm not questioning what you have stated; just saying that I don't know.) What I do know is that little if any action is taken on the part of the Mexican law enforcment to stop illegal emigration.

Personally, I would like to see a realistic "guest worker" program started so that the illegals could be here legally, and at the same time pay their fair share of their social burden. I have a lot of friends who are mujados. They are decent, hard-working people. They would be more than willing to pay taxes if they could be legally employed.
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MELEE



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2583
Location: The Mexican Hinterland

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2003 4:54 pm    Post subject: Go away for a week... Reply with quote

and a fight breaks out. Crying or Very sad

The visa question again.
FM3s (work visas) are expensive. Can you get a job without one? yes. Do many people work illegally? yes. Have people been deported for working on a tourist visa? yes. Does it happen often? definately not.

The amount of foreigners working illegally in Mexico will never be significant, certainly it will never compareable to the number of Mexicans working illegally in own home countries. (At least not in our lifetime)

I think it boils down to this point, schools that don't want to mess with work visas are doing something wrong. Probably they are doing many things wrong. (avoiding taxes, not paying on time, over charging, not offering the services they advertize, etc.) You have to decide if you want to work for (and contribute to the profits of) this type of organization.

Cheers,

MEL
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Brenda



Joined: 13 Feb 2003
Posts: 48
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2003 9:38 pm    Post subject: Work visas in Mexico Reply with quote

Hear! Hear!

I agree with Mel. Well said.

And may I add without anyone chopping my head off, for those who have worked in Mexico, haven't you ever noticed that things just work differently in Mexico? Aren't we all told when we enter a foreign country to leave certain cultural differences behind us? Why is everyone comparing Mexico to their home country? Yet, at the same time though, stick to your morals. I've never worked at a school without a work visa nor have I encountered one that has asked me to do so either.

But... to each their own.
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2003 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mel:

Perhaps my remarks sound more contentious than they are meant to be. I respect Ben and have no desire to argue with him. I personallly think that the government of Mexico is rather hypocritical in regards to immigration/work issues. Of course, that is just my opinion, which doesn't really matter much in the big picture.
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 1:58 am    Post subject: Doubt that we'll have a big fight over this one Reply with quote

I doubt that a serious fight is going to break out on this thread over the work visa issue, at least not from me. As long as foreigners wanting to work in Mexico are aware of the possible consequences of working illegally (which MELEE summed up nicely in her post,) then it's up to the individual to decide whether or not to get a work visa. My personal feelings are that it's too risky, and I'd never recommend to anyone that he/she should work on a tourist visa, but that's only my opinion. I know teachers who have worked and are working illegally, and I hold nothing against them. It's their own choice. However, I do take exception to anyone who advises novices, "Go ahead and work on your tourist visa. It's okay, and nothing will happen to you. It's stupid to waste your money on a work visa." I've heard foreign teachers and even a couple of language school directors tell new teachers exactly that.

As far as the Mexican government being hypocritical, I'd say it's hard to pinpoint what exactly is hypocritical amid all the corruption in this country. In a public manner (TV ads included) the government speaks out against corruption. Yet, when one sees how vast and wide-spread corruption is at all levels of government, it would be hard to say hypocracy isn't there to some extent. As I said in a previous post, there are public ads by the government on TV against illegally entering the U.S., which could be seen in the same (hypocritical) light as the government ads against corruption. In other words, Paul G., I can see your point about the hypocrisy issue regarding the Mexican government's dealings with Mexicans entering the U.S. illegally.

What Brenda said is correct in my opinion, that things do work differently in Mexico. One of the possible problems is that people who are relatively new to the country usually don't know the rules of the game, and that can be potentially dangerous. Sometimes double or multiple standards exist. In other words, sometimes the rules aren't the same for all Mexicans, and sometimes they aren't the same for foreigners as they are for Mexicans. It's a complicated game, and often the rules aren't as cut and dried as they might appear at first. Therefore, what appears as something that works differently in Mexico may be obvious to someone who doesn't have a lot of experience in this country, but the complexities of how it works differently might not be so easily or quickly perceived.

Best wishes!
B.R. de B.
Smile
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Brenda



Joined: 13 Feb 2003
Posts: 48
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I'd never accept a job from a school that asked me to work on a tourist visa either and so I would definitely not recommend anyone else to do so either. I say, pay the money on the work visa. It's worth more to me than the risk of the consequences if I didnt have one.

Determining what's a cultural difference and what's a potential scam is tough on both those who are new to the game as those who have been there and done that before. I recommend getting as much info from the school/organization and asking to speak to other teachers working there. The more you know the better you'll be prepared.

There will be enough new things to deal with when you get there. Try to cover every angle before leaving the comfort and security of your home land.
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some waygug-in



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a late entry here and perhaps a bit off topic, but I just read on the Mex-connnect forum that the income requirement for obtaining an FM-3 is $1000 US. I don't know any language schools that offer anything even close to that. How then can they tell people that they will get them an FM-3? Is this a new requirement? When I worked there, I was lucky to earn $300. a month, but I had an FM-3. I am confused by this. Does anyone out there know what this is about, and how it will impact ESL teachers?
Cheers
Some waygug-in
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