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Thoughts, impressions or alarm bells?
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:35 am    Post subject: Thoughts, impressions or alarm bells? Reply with quote

Greetings.
I unexpectedly found my self logging onto the China board which would have surprised me even a week ago.

A couple of things before I go too far - I'll keep some of the info here a bit vague for privacy's sake. Feel free to PM if you want to.

I have about four years experience in ESL , a recognized certificate etc.. I went to a country in SE Asia to try and get started with a new job and in the course of things ran across a recruiter who's known to someone I knew but I have been out of contact with.

Bottom line is I have given a bit more trust to the situation but not for anything specific. As the job market was slow where I was looking I went ahead and agreed to try working in China for the recruiter who seems on the face of it to be ok though information can be a bit vague.

I went through a couple of "loops". One, the recruiter who sent me and who paid for my ticket here and who I signed a contract with (hard to see how it's relevant to China as the contract seemsvague and geared to the recruiter not the school where I'm at)...Then I went through a "school agency" who sets up teachers in and around Hong Kong. They took me to Forever Bright Visa agency.

Now I'm at a school which seems, on the face of it to be fairly nice and helpful. There are several other foreign teachers here, a couple who've been here for 4 years and one for 2 years. The have apparently all left the "payroll chain" of having the recruiter skim their wages.

Does all of this sound fairly normal so far for China? I'm used to contracts out of Korea - a new appreciation for the "clarity" of Korean contacts has emerged....something I had never expected.

Pay etc....

As the recruiter seemed to need someone quickly to finish the semester ending about February 8th I was told they'd fly me back to the original country w/o problems for the break. So far, not much risked IMO and they (the recruiter/hong kong agency or local school) have paid for everything. No rumors so far about problems getting paid.

Yes, the pay. They started me off at $7500 rmb/month and I have "accomodations" that are spacey but a bit spartan feeling. I can imagine more money and a better place but I can imagine worse.

I'm currently on a 30 day business visa with a general understanding that I'll leave for a mini-run to HK and then back in again with a work visa on a future run. It's a bit chaotic and while I can imagine that this is the perfect time for a recruiter/school to screw me I see nothing specific going bad (it's very early). Obviously, I'll talk with the other foreign teachers as I get to know them a bit better.

The truth is, I had thought about trying China and this situation came up. I don't like the fact I'm getting skimmed every month in my paycheck by the recruiter and would like some thoughts on how to end the bleed out on that. In retrospect, maybe I would ask for a clearer contract but I'm guessing recruiters take advantage of the lack of clarity.

I haven't thought through the details but I guess if I see something terrible happening I could pull the plug when I get the supposed-to-be-paid for flight back in February - or I can ride it out and see what China has to offer which is all I would get a chance at in any new country right?

Thoughts, impressions or alarm bells?
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Ariadne



Joined: 16 Jul 2004
Posts: 960

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're working on a business visa you are working illegally. Make that run to HK with the invitation letter, etc. to get a Z visa sooner, rather than later. Then, make sure the Z is 'converted' to a resident permit within 30 days.

Recruiters, agencies, schools... lots of fingers in that pot. Not the way I cook, but it might work out for you.

.
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Simon in Suzhou



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 275
Location: GZ

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:49 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts, impressions or alarm bells? Reply with quote

tideout wrote:

Does all of this sound fairly normal so far for China? I'm used to contracts out of Korea - a new appreciation for the "clarity" of Korean contacts has emerged....something I had never expected.



No, it's not normal. Working for an agent (your contract is with them, not the school) who is skimming from your salary every month is usually the route unqualified teachers go who have no other options. If you have a bachelor's degree there is no reason for you to be in such a situation. You are totally at their mercy and their interpretation of the "vague" contract.

Working on business visa with the "promise" of a future work visa is a BIG alarm bell. Your "recruiter" who is a friend of a friend of somebody you knew is SHADY. You are teaching illegally and if they didn't get you a Z-visa and residence permit up front you'll probably never see it.
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:00 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

I will double check this and make sure this is correct this AM - I'll post back later for sure.

Really appreciated. It was vague at the visa agency and I may have confused it with everything going on.....
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choudoufu



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

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:14 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts, impressions or alarm bells? Reply with quote

tideout wrote:

As the recruiter seemed to need someone quickly to finish the semester ending about February 8th I was told they'd fly me back to the original country w/o problems for the break. So far, not much risked IMO and they (the recruiter/hong kong agency or local school) have paid for everything.

....

I'm currently on a 30 day business visa with a general understanding that I'll leave for a mini-run to HK and then back in again with a work visa on a future run.

...

I haven't thought through the details but I guess if I see something terrible happening I could pull the plug when I get the supposed-to-be-paid for flight back in February - or I can ride it out and see what China has to offer which is all I would get a chance at in any new country right?


strange. very strange.

you didn't say what kind of school. not a uni, right? fall semester will
be ending for most unis mid-january. chinese new year is february 10.
golden week travel holiday will be ~ february 9-15. when do you plan
to return to that other country? have they already bought your ticket?
do you have it yet?

if you're planning to return for spring semester, beginning february 25,
when do you plan to get your work visa? during golden week?

since it's unlikely you'll be able to get a work visa in that other country,
they most likely will maybe have you return on another business visa.
then of course, it won't be reasonable to expect a work visa for the
four months remaining in the semester.

and given all the foreigners available in china (plus many looking for
work in hong kong) why would they go to the trouble and expense
of bringing in someone from that other country, with multiple flights?

strange indeed.
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:09 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts, impressions or alarm bells? Reply with quote

choudoufu wrote:
tideout wrote:

As the recruiter seemed to need someone quickly to finish the semester ending about February 8th I was told they'd fly me back to the original country w/o problems for the break. So far, not much risked IMO and they (the recruiter/hong kong agency or local school) have paid for everything.

....

I'm currently on a 30 day business visa with a general understanding that I'll leave for a mini-run to HK and then back in again with a work visa on a future run.

...

I haven't thought through the details but I guess if I see something terrible happening I could pull the plug when I get the supposed-to-be-paid for flight back in February - or I can ride it out and see what China has to offer which is all I would get a chance at in any new country right?


strange. very strange.

you didn't say what kind of school. not a uni, right?

.........................................................................

strange indeed.
Not "strange" but discreet

If we are curious we can pm posters
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tideout wrote:
I don't like the fact I'm getting skimmed every month in my paycheck by the recruiter and would like some thoughts on how to end the bleed out on that. In retrospect, maybe I would ask for a clearer contract but I'm guessing recruiters take advantage of the lack of clarity.

If you're using an agent you're not being "skimmed every month", you're paying someone a fee for having them find work for you. That's how these relationships function. Doesn't sound like you've been done in at all yet, but if you're not happy paying part of your salary to other people, and if you want to avoid other potential problems, then you have to find a job on your own in future. Preferably one that starts with a Z visa and residence permit from Day 1. By working illegally on a business visa you've left yourself open to all kinds of problems.

In about three months universities will start looking for next years employees so that would be a good time to start. If you're a native speaker and have the degree and a bit of experience, which it seems you have, you're good to go.

As for recruiters and agents, they can be useful, and some of them are ok. Some people need them, the nervous, the unsure, the uninitiated, the unqualified or people who are just too lazy to job hunt by themselves. If you feel the need to use a recruiter then use one that charges the school a fee, not you. I used an agent in the past, when starting out, and it wasn't all bad (or all good) but I'd rather do it on my own now. I just find a lot of recruiters and agents too pushy. More importantly, cutting out middlemen usually results in less mix-ups, misunderstandings, and problems with the school.
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
tideout wrote:
I don't like the fact I'm getting skimmed every month in my paycheck by the recruiter and would like some thoughts on how to end the bleed out on that. In retrospect, maybe I would ask for a clearer contract but I'm guessing recruiters take advantage of the lack of clarity.

If you're using an agent you're not being "skimmed every month", you're paying someone a fee for having them find work for you. That's how these relationships function. ........
This wouldn't be an agent, would it Confused

I've learned contrary to what the above claims but there are all kinds of situations or people
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
Javelin of Radiance wrote:
tideout wrote:
I don't like the fact I'm getting skimmed every month in my paycheck by the recruiter and would like some thoughts on how to end the bleed out on that. In retrospect, maybe I would ask for a clearer contract but I'm guessing recruiters take advantage of the lack of clarity.

If you're using an agent you're not being "skimmed every month", you're paying someone a fee for having them find work for you. That's how these relationships function. ........
This wouldn't be an agent, would it?

Agents typically take a portion of your monthly salary, a percentage. That's what mine did (he took 15%) and I was ok with it because he made the transition to the job relatively easy and he found plenty of work which meant more money. I had issues with him for other things though. Recruiters usually just find you the job, get paid a one time fee, and then you may or may not hear from them again. But everyone knows this.

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
I know a few teachers who get 9,000 monthly but they see only a half of that.

Anyone who lets an agent or recruiter take half their monthly salary, every month, is an idiot. And probably working illegally. The two often go hand in hand.
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:39 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for all of the replies. Very much appreciated as well as the perspectives.

My visa is an "F" visa - 30 days. I guess I should mention that other staff have been or are on an "F" visa. My impressions is that people have not had issues being paid but if someone's left previously because of that or other issues I wouldn't know.

In and of itself, I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the responses on the recruiter. The truth of it is, I didn't get the job, temporary or otherwise on my own and I don't see anything wrong with someone being paid for a service they provide. I guess there is a longer term perspective on how much you're losing on the fee - technically, wisely or not, I seem to employed by the recruiter not the school.

The ticket has not been purchased yet but that is an issue of course. The original date mentioned was to return Feb 8th.

Also, appreciated is the info on the upcoming school schedules and possibilities......
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Simon in Suzhou



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 275
Location: GZ

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: Thanks Reply with quote

tideout wrote:
Thanks for all of the replies. Very much appreciated as well as the perspectives.

My visa is an "F" visa - 30 days. I guess I should mention that other staff have been or are on an "F" visa. My impressions is that people have not had issues being paid but if someone's left previously because of that or other issues I wouldn't know.

In and of itself, I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the responses on the recruiter. The truth of it is, I didn't get the job, temporary or otherwise on my own and I don't see anything wrong with someone being paid for a service they provide. I guess there is a longer term perspective on how much you're losing on the fee - technically, wisely or not, I seem to employed by the recruiter not the school.

The ticket has not been purchased yet but that is an issue of course. The original date mentioned was to return Feb 8th.

Also, appreciated is the info on the upcoming school schedules and possibilities......


The fact is this is an AGENT not a recruiter. Agents are NOT the norm in China. They are opportunists who only exist because there are people desperate enough to give them more money (and more control) than they should have. They essentially provide NO extra services than a recruiter does (or you could do by contacting schools directly), they just take a bigger cut from YOU rather than a one-time fee from the school. If you feel comfortable with this system, then well...ok...I guess the agent will be happy.

Again, if I didn't have the qualifications for a teaching job and were looking for a job quickly, i might be happy with the situation as well. However, I really hate the idea of validating sketchy AGENTS who call themselves recruiters and essentially get illegal jobs for people (i.e. everyone on F-visas).
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
wonderingjoesmith wrote:
Javelin of Radiance wrote:
tideout wrote:
I don't like the fact I'm getting skimmed every month in my paycheck by the recruiter and would like some thoughts on how to end the bleed out on that. In retrospect, maybe I would ask for a clearer contract but I'm guessing recruiters take advantage of the lack of clarity.

If you're using an agent you're not being "skimmed every month", you're paying someone a fee for having them find work for you. That's how these relationships function. ........
This wouldn't be an agent, would it?

Agents typically take a portion of your monthly salary, a percentage. That's what mine did (he took 15%) and I was ok with it because he made the transition to the job relatively easy and he found plenty of work which meant more money. I had issues with him for other things though. Recruiters usually just find you the job, get paid a one time fee, and then you may or may not hear from them again. But everyone knows this.
What kind of a "transition" assistance does an intelligent individual get from an unusual agent? I'd like to know that because I am really not everyone.

So, I gather we agree agents take one-time or monthly fees from their customers (teachers).
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
wonderingjoesmith wrote:
I know a few teachers who get 9,000 monthly but they see only a half of that.

Anyone who lets an agent or recruiter take half their monthly salary, every month, is an idiot. And probably working illegally. The two often go hand in hand.
I quite agree but some may not even know what half, or shall i say percentage, of their salaries they've signed. Sorry if it doesn't make sense. I should really squeeze you in between my beer buddies and buy you a cold one. No, I truly am not the cheers and beers guy Laughing
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The fact is this is an AGENT not a recruiter.
Would someone please compare and contrast those two while focusing on the field we're in?
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 182

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Well, at the risk of over clarifying something, I'm not comfortable with things or I wouldn't be posting as I am.

Some of this is due to different experiences people have in different countries. For example, my first job in Korea was through a recruiter who was recommended. They had a good reputation for getting people in where they wanted to go and it certainly worked fine for me. The only expenses were charged to the school system - not me. The next time I applied directly to the system I was interested in and it went smoothly but the first time through it probably would have taken quite a bit more time, trial and effort.

I thought the system might work in a somewhat parallel fashion here. I have the visa agency business card now and could obviously walk into it myself w/o any hesitation. At any rate, there's a learning curve with these things and different ways to go about it....there's a line between paying for a service and getting scammed....sometimes it's a matter of perspective it seems.

It appears I can walk away from this with some time wasted and in the worst case scenario a regional plane ticket out of my own pocket. I'd like to think about how to minimize costs on this and make the best of seeing how things work here.

Again though, I appreciate the responses to the post.
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