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Teaching on a tourist visa is that bad?
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Sade



Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One company offered me to come to china on a tourist visa and they assured me that they'll change it.. Now I've read the posts on this forum so I'm somewhat aware of the advantages and disadvantages.. but i had a question about my flight ticket.. if i get a 6 month tourist visa.. and my flight is a one year return ticket.. will i have difficulties.. one company told me to get a 3 month tourist visa.. they actually specified 3 months.. i don't know why..does that mean that i have to get a 3month return flight and then extend it when i get the working visa? Anyone been in this situation?
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arioch36



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My understanding, when I bought a round trip ticket with open retutn date, that you just have to notify the airline ahead of time to book the seat. That's what i had to do. The one year for this meant the ticket would expire ion one year, I had to use it within one year
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jeffinflorida



Joined: 22 Dec 2004
Posts: 2024
Location: "I'm too proud to beg and too lazy to work" Uncle Fester, The Addams Family season two

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sade wrote:
One company offered me to come to china on a tourist visa and they assured me that they'll change it.. Now I've read the posts on this forum so I'm somewhat aware of the advantages and disadvantages.. but i had a question about my flight ticket.. if i get a 6 month tourist visa.. and my flight is a one year return ticket.. will i have difficulties.. one company told me to get a 3 month tourist visa.. they actually specified 3 months.. i don't know why..does that mean that i have to get a 3month return flight and then extend it when i get the working visa? Anyone been in this situation?


Your flight and visa really have nothing to do with each other UNLESS your airline of choice feels like making a statement about a return ticket as mandated by the chinese gov't. In this case your easiest work-a-round is to fly to Hong Kong and enter Mainland this way. HK gives US citizens a 90 day visa on arrival.

If you want to enter via Beijing or Shanghai then you have to ask your airline of choice what THEIR policy is. That is if you want to come on a one -way or 30-90 day visa.

The airlines really have no standardization on this matter. So policys differ. I came to China via Beijing several times on a one - way and never had an issue. I really don't think the Continental Airlines guy that glanced at my visa had much clue what an RP, Z, L,F visa meant.

The school I work for changed everyones visa - whether it was a tourist or F visa to an R/P but this school can do that. There was no delays or issues for anyone. Every teacher got an R/P once we got settled. I had an F visa good till January - it was canceled and replaced with the R/P.

But, try to get a 3 month or 6 month visa anyway becuase this gives you extra time to sort your visa situation out as well as give you the correct job choice without a hasty decision.
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natty1810



Joined: 02 Nov 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't recommend it.

I had the misfortune (my first ESL job in China) of coming to China on a tourist visa based on the school saying they could get me a Z visa.

Turned out the school didn't have a licence to employ me so couldn't get me a Z visa. I found this out one month before my tourist visa was due to run out.

Got a mate of mine (fluent Mandarin) to help me out. Cancelled the "contract" at the school and hooked up with another school in the city who were licenced and got me a Z visa in a matter of days.

It was a nightmare as I didn't know what was happening and I was stressing. It all got sorted in the end but it was not an experience I would want to go through again.

Save yourself the stress and get the proper paperwork.
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jeffinflorida



Joined: 22 Dec 2004
Posts: 2024
Location: "I'm too proud to beg and too lazy to work" Uncle Fester, The Addams Family season two

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I had the misfortune (my first ESL job in China) of coming to China on a tourist visa based on the school saying they could get me a Z visa.

Turned out the school didn't have a licence to employ me so couldn't get me a Z visa. I found this out one month before my tourist visa was due to run out.


Yep it happens...

On one end of the phone is a smiling chinese saying " No problem, We have license, get you z visa quick".

And the truth is "No Tickee No Shirtee".....
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monkeys.are.smarter



Joined: 08 Jan 2008
Posts: 2
Location: returned from asia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone's got horror stories to tell about visa problems, being that this is China, the first thing to remember should be that there are no rules about anything. I worked at a large private school in Beijing where all of the teachers had tourist or business visas, not the proper teaching visas required by law; there was not much for us to do but keep our fingers crossed that someone at the school was paying enough money to the right person at the PSB. This was also the same school that fired a teacher for asking for proof that the taxes with held from our paychecks were actually being sent to the government, rather than kept for themselves. When it came time for me to quit, I gave them 2 weeks notice, and then they fired me after one week, saying that they had a replacement teacher for me and the replacement wanted to start now. I would have been better off quitting the day of and accepting the fine for not giving notice.
I think its generally true that if the teachers are on a business visa, the school will pay in cash and not with hold taxes (because you're illegal, not unlike a migrant farmworker)
I came into Beijing on the tourist visa with a round trip ticket, I read many times on this forum that even though you are supposed to have proof of a round trip ticket when you enter on a tourist visa, it is rarely enforced. But I started looking for jobs and asked about sponsoring the proper teaching visa, and the school basically laughed at me and said that no one in the city has a teaching visa, and they all "knew some guy" who could arrange a business visa.
Perhaps the best advice is to not make any long term plans, remain flexible, and come into China on the tourist visa, get a business visa after a few weeks, and not sweat too much about the serious details until you've figured out if you're actually going to stay in China for awhile. It would suck to go through the commitment of signing a contract with a school so that they can sponsor a visa, and then getting all the way to China and deciding that you don't really even like it that much.
buena suerte,
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ontheroadagain



Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Posts: 66
Location: PRC since 07/04

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In larges cities MAJORITY of FT are visiting students doing it during their free time.
Whatever for beer money or planed trips, they regularly crash the market when accepting gigs at 70 kuais per hour...

Now, and if signing a year contract with a public school or UNI, there is a good chance that you will be asked to show your passport...
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for the sake of this thread, teaching on a tourist visa isn’t bad as long as you are really good at what you do and as long as you have some connections, however if you are at a school or center and get caught by local authorities it might get worse than bad Wink

in some cities of this lovely country the officials‘ve recently had a few visits to see who’s in their town。。。in nanning, they visited a few language centers and did not mind coming to public unis either 。。。so, how bad could it get if you work on a tourist visa is now up to you to figure out。。ARE YOU WILLING TO TAKE RISKS OR NOT, ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN Smile

cheers and beers to ones that can really make it on their own and without those lousy ch-employers that often are clueless about their own biz
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pest2



Joined: 28 Oct 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least as recently as a year ago, most schools in Shanghai made it a habit to just hire teachers and get them working first, and then get the work visa later because the demand was immediate. If the school has some useful relationship with the authorities, it's not a problem for them (but still for you)... According to the law, schools are supposed to get fined alot more than teachers in case the latter get caught without work visas, but.... I had a personal experience with a school/company called, "Pacican BSK" like this... the owner of the company is a former member of the education board and is able to bribe the immigration police in Shanghai. I had signed a contract there but not gotten a work visa or been paid, yet. I decided that the organization, pay, and situation is quite poor at Pacican, so I told them I quit... Next thing I know, the police are calling me in to tell me that Pacican called the police to report me as working on a tourist visa -- something that Pacican demanded i do in the first place! The police said if I changed my mind about quitting work there and went back to Pacican, I would not be deported for working on a tourist visa... but my other choice was to be deported (I told them all to go f#ck themselves and I left China and will almost surely never go back the except in case the USA finally nukes that place and I have to go clean up the mess)....

Anyway, the moral is that in China, there are rules but,.. more importantly.. there are relationships. Watch those relationships too, if not more....
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arioch36



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So waht is the ending??? Enquiring minds want to know. Because most of the time, if the school gets a "policeman" to come threaten you, it's a bluff. Most of the time.
The reality is if you got in trouble and stuck to your guns, the school would creamed. The policeman who came to have a friendly chat with you, definitely wasn't coming on the orders of the PSB leaders. The PSB leaders have no regard for an individual school
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englishgibson



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 4345

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i don't know if i understand you right there, but local PSB visits schools or shall i say language centers in some areas .. there've been posts on forums recently (don't remember how far back) .. beijing, xiamen PSB visists and they've even visited some bar as i read on some forum here

now, i can tell you that they've visisted some centers in nanning guanxi a couple of months ago ... and, they've inquired about FTs as well as the center's license..a center had to provide the PSB officer with FTs' passport copies and even their previous jobs in china

further more and this is off topic, the center was asked if it had a chinese DoS which it didn't have and not it had a foreign one ... hasn't got one yet ..well, it attempted to hire a chDoS for a few days Laughing
apparently, it's a new regulation

cheers and beers to all kinda permits and hard working FTs in china
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SpedEd



Joined: 31 Jan 2006
Posts: 143
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way it is here in the PRC is that many schools can pay someone off at the PSB to allow you to work without fear of being apprehended and deported for working on a 'L' visa. In the book you're listed as an illegal alien for working without the appropriate 'Z' visa. In reality, the powers that be often pay off the powers that be to work around the rulebook.
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sharnac



Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: running out of time... Reply with quote

Hi
I have been negotiating employment with a language company for the past month or so. They offerred me employment in Guangzhou (tick) to start in May (tick) and part time curriculum development (tick).
Problem is they have just told me there is no time to arrange a working visa and that I should come anyway (have already booked my ticket) and then travel to Hong Kong mid May to organise a working visa.

I am a bit freaked out after reading this sticky. I have sold my stuff, cancelled my rental lease, bought my ticket and my partner is already waiting for me in Guangzhou. Any advice? Also, I had no idea about the return ticket rule. Where do you find out if this is necessary? I have only booked a one way ticket as we are planning to stay in China for a year and then travel on to Europe and not back to Australia for some time. Any advice is greatly appreciated - feeling completely stressed right now.
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Saiops



Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 11
Location: Beijing,

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: Re: Teaching on a tourist visa is that bad? Reply with quote

[quote="daodejing"]So I was just reading a "horror story" and many posters were saying that teaching on a tourist visa is really bad.

Hmm tough to say. Default answer is not don't trust them unless you know them or others who are doing something of the same at their place.

You run the risk of them not paying you and you can do nothing about it if they do. So ask yourself, do you trust them enough to do it that? If not then seek employment elsewhere.

I have had teachers work for me in the past on Tourist visa but we were also in the process of changing it to a F or Z. SO if they aren't changing it then you are vulnerable, therefore, warned.
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Tsuris



Joined: 25 Mar 2008
Posts: 69
Location: Wasting My Life Away in China

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing to keep in mind is that mainland China is not a land of laws but, rather, a country with current-day sentimental and functional ties to its feudal past and of complex interpersonal relationships.

If the right person doesn’t want you here, it truly doesn’t matter whether you are working here legally with a Z-Visa or even with a Chinese Green Card. Some reason will be found for cancelling it, and you’ll be told to leave.

Although occasionally the police pursue foreigners who are working in China on anything other than a Z-Visa, in the same way they make an occasional show of cleaning up pirated DVDs and software, the truth is if no one with power (either directly or through his or her network of friends) has a grudge against you or wants you out of town, as a practical issue, it really doesn’t matter what kind of Visa you have.

Problems only typically arise if and when you enter the radar of those in power, for whatever reason. Then the fact that you are working here illegally simply becomes a convenient way for making you leave, but it would be naïve to think that a Z-Visa and a SAFEA contract offer any kind of genuine protection against fraud, deception, maltreatment, and corruption. They really don’t—not when push comes to shove.

It’s not easy for a school to acquire a license to hire foreign experts; it’s a very involved, costly, and time-consuming process, and, in many provinces, there are long waiting lists for it. Many, if not most, foreigners during their stay in China have worked for years at unlicensed schools with absolutely no problems whatsoever. Conversely, I know of many licensed and “legitimate” schools that are remarkably unscrupulous in their handling of foreign teachers, and they get away with it because they have strong relationships with the right people in government.

As for contracts, they do little more in China than provide a common starting ground for further, often impromptu, ongoing negotiations throughout the life of the contract. I’ve known several foreigners who have worked part-time for private schools with neither a contract nor a single problem, and others, with Z-Visas and SAFEA contracts, who have been terminated in the middle of their contracts for one reason or another (whether justified or not)—including one such foreigner who was doing a good job at a government university.* Obviously, the more favourable the conditions are at the beginning of the contract, the better off the foreign teacher is, usually. However, just because your contract states that, for example, you are entitled to a water cooler doesn’t mean you will find one when you arrive or that it will take any less than four weeks for you to finally get one, or that the one you eventually get is not 10-years old with a leak that provides you with a soothing indoor waterfall.

For the most part, it is neither the type of Visa one has nor the presence of a contract in force that determines or predicts the absence of problems in China. That is almost entirely accounted for by the sensibilities of the key people involved in the agreement (foreigners included). If the main people involved like you and want you to stay, you will be treated well and you will be safe from interference; if they don’t, it doesn’t matter as a practical issue what type of Visa you have or whether you have a contract or not.

A one-year residency permit obtained through a licensed school makes life in China more convenient, although not necessarily more predictable. If the OP can’t find a sponsor for a Z-Visa, then there will be someone in Shanghai who can help him buy a multi-entry, six-month F-Visa (business Visa), at a reasonable hong bao (red envelope) surcharge of course. My girlfriend lived in China for 2 years on six-month renewable F-Visas and worked “illegally” part-time for unlicensed schools during that entire time without a problem, and was treated 100% better than I was on a legal Z-Visa and with a contract in force, because the people she worked for were quite decent and well connected. On the other hand, I personally know of a foreigner who was living and working here on a 10-year Chinese Green Card, who was recently deported because he grew too big for his britches and he crossed the wrong people.

China is not a land of laws. It is a country that operates almost entirely from the top down on the basis of interpersonal relationships, and even where foreigners are concerned, that reality is a sword that cuts both ways.

PS. This in no way should be misconstrued to mean that I am advising foreign teachers to initially arrive in China for the purpose of working on anything but a Z-Visa. Although what you encounter may be far from what you expected, entering the country with a Z-Visa does at least guarantee that a job will be waiting for you. Once you are already in the country and are settled down and better networked, then the possibilities broaden geometrically and the lines separating what's legal and illegal begin to blur. Too many foreigners arrive in China on a tourist Visa at their own expense for what turns out to be nothing more than a glorified job interview.

*The foreigner in question was well qualified and living with the daughter of the university's vice president in unusually splendid campus housing. When the relationship ended badly, the foreigner was abruptly terminated. He was simply told that his department was "downsizing" and that he was the victim of budget cuts from Beijing. He was finally able to negotiate a 5,000 RMB settlement on the six months that were left on his contract. His Z-Visa was immediately downgraded to a 30-day tourist Visa, and, after months of being chased around by the police for working part-time on an L-Visa, he finally had to leave town. Meanwhile, at the very same locations he was fired from for working illegally, most of the foreign teachers were students from the same university working on X-Visas.
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