Hiring Standards For Foreigners Get Tougher; Five Years' Experience Needed for Teachers

Getting a proper job in Beijing just became a bit harder for non-Chinese citizens.

A new regulation now requires foreigners seeking employment as teachers to have at least five years' experience to teach non-language subjects, state-run media reported. Previously, teachers were not governed under separate regulations, requiring only the two years of experience mandated for other positions. It is unclear how teachers who have already obtained Z visas who do not meet this new standard will be handled.

However, language teachers "should have Chinese teacher certificates or international language teaching qualifications, include Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), and The Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT)." Clearly local officials believe dealing with unqualified teachers is more important than local students learning English.

Foreigners wishing to be employed in Beijing must also be between the ages of 18 and 60, although the upper limit may be extended to 65 in the case of senior foreign experts. They must hold a bachelor's degree or higher, and have two years of relevant work experience, except in the case of teachers.

Other regulations require that foreign employees have no criminal record in their home country.

The new regulations come on the heels of a recent CCTV report about unqualified English teachers, titled, “Expats unqualified for language teaching in China?” which was chewed on more than mooncakes during the recent Mid-Autumn Festival.

One expat blogger, Nargiz Koshoibekova of The World of Chinese, pointed out: “CCTV often brings attention and controversy due to their reports, and now there is a fear that this could be the beginning of a crackdown on foreign teachers.”

Truth be told, the crackdown started long ago. China Business Central puts it this way:

“Following two years of foreign teacher scandals in China that included the arrest of a pedophile teacher, two rapings of teacher assistants, and numerous acts of drunken violence by foreign expat teachers, the Chinese government has not only issued tougher visa laws in 2013 that require criminal background checks, but their current arrest and deportation rate has nearly doubled since 2012.

This same story notes that, “In May of 2014 alone, 423 foreign expats were detained by China's visa cops after being caught in random visa checks at their schools with no Z visa in their passports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.”

These new regulations could mean a lot of inexperienced foreigners – many of whom have come to China as economic refugees from the financially flaccid West – may be at the end of their rope, at least in Beijing.

Of course to some in one segment of the English teaching population – those whose professional credentials already exceed this new restriction – this news comes as a relief. Why? Because they want to teach in peace, not constantly fret about being tarnished in public by the acts of a minority of creepy, inexperienced colleagues.

Veteran expats are also ticked off because bad foreign behavior makes life difficult when visa restrictions are suddenly tightened.

One 10-year veteran English teacher based in China e-mailed the Beijinger rejoicing in this news, along with a link to the blog of a teacher, The Unlucky Laowai, that he says is a classic example of the type of teacher that gives the experienced set a bad name. “My last job in Nebraska prior to coming to China was as a pizza delivery boy,” notes The Unlucky Laowai. “I am currently employed at a Chinese university, but I gave them a fake college degree made in Photoshop and I don’t have much teaching experience, so I fear this job won’t last much longer. I was arrested a couple years ago for overstaying my visa, spent a week in detention, and then deported back to America, so I’m skating on thin ice.” (Indeed he was, as he's since been lost his job).

Hard questions now loom: how many unqualified teachers will be netted and let go? How strictly will the 5-year rule be enforced? Will good teachers report bad teachers? Will more viewers tune into CCTV for coverage like episodes of COPS?

Christopher Cottrell contributed to this story.

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Photo: Live The Language

Comments

It makes sense. One question, however: what of the schools and institutions that retain employees who are illegally working? Are they also fined or disciplined like their now-deported employees?

In our experience if you want to obtain a proper working visa you do need the teaching certificate.

When we apply for the Z visa for our teachers we are required to provide a TEFL or TESOL along with all of the other documents. Without it we the application is rejected and we cannot get the visa.

If you are just doing some "voluntary" work then perhaps the TEFL is not so important.

The point is clear visa crackdown alone is not enough; as long as Beijing continues to see qualified foreign teachers only by their skin colors (white) there will continue to be hooligans in the classrooms. There’s no need for Chinese to continue deceiving themselves and their children by believing that everybody with pale skin is native English speaker or is a good teacher.

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Nothing will happen to those who are working in most schools, we got a guy who's been working illegal on a F and now known as an M visa for 6 years, he doesn't have a degree, our school can hire and give Z visa's so I guess a guy hiding among legal working guys makes it easy to hide and stash someone in this case. But there are school likes Hampson English that have ties with the PSB and setup teachers to be purposly caught by the PSB to #one set an example and #two collect money on the side., lits a bad joke. In Shenzhen only Web International and Hampson English are cracked down on every year, but others school go untouched and the life of these F and M or S or even Q visa teacher continue and you know what? I think it will go on like this forever. China is strict for 3 months and then everything goes back to the lazy policy way.

No one was talking about the color of the teachers skin in this topic, it refers to you and me (I'm white.). Thats a whole different issue. Lets try a question to relate to your question? Why was there only one white male NBA basketbal player during the FIBA world cups last month? I don't see a problem with that. So why shold it be hard to accept in China?

Hey there,so no,they didn't mention anything about skin color,but they didn't have to,i've been in China long enough to know that the only qualification most language schools are looking for,is White skin,even the police in their quest to rid China of "in-experienced" teachers will scrutinize blacks more than any other race thanks to Nigerians and also because that's just how things work here...

And about there being only one white guy on that basketball team,i did some research on the topic,and there are a few theories ranging from the "black slave's were bred to make super slaves and those genes have been passed down through the generations resulting the in athletes you see today" agument to the less controversial "more black americans than white americans beleive that training hard at basketball is their best chance at being successful and rich,therefore more blacks try out for basketball teams therefore more blacks get picked" argument

I think you need to clarify a few items to avoid misunderstandings here. If you are basing your information on the September 16th China Daily article that did not cite any official source, it said there "may" be new restrictions that would include the 5 years previous experience requirement. Do you have some official confirmation that this WILL in fact become a legal requirement, versus "may". If you recall last year, a similar China Daily article also said a new 5 year FEC "may" be authorized and then we never heard about it again.

Also according to the same China Daily article it says the TEFL/TESOL certificate would be required for pre-school (kindergarten) teachers - nobody else. And that also is a "maybe" right?

The reason I bring this up is that although TEFL/TESOL training makes for better teachers, there are a lot of quasi-scam Tefl & Tesol training peddlers out there, and some who sell training from companies whose certficates are not recognized or accepted in BRIC countries who will use your comments to tell prospects "You must have a TEFL or TESOL certificate to teach in China" just to make a few bucks. Ditto for all the recruiters that are sales agents for these companies. See: http://www.scam.com/showpost.php?p=1783414&postcount=3

And when I called SAFEA's Beijing office just before the holiday break, they admitted they were not sure any changes would be made but they would make an announcement in October IF anything changed. Do you realize how many of the current teachers in China would be immediately disqualified if they made these new requirements official?

So if you have more current or specific information ON WHAT IS CURRENT REALITY and LEGAL REQUIREMENTS, can you please post the links. Thanks.

Want a career instead of a job?

P.S. I also want to clarify that this is for Beijing only, so IF it does become reality, all of us working in Beijing that are qualified, we would be justified in asking for a 30%-50% raise I think.

Want a career instead of a job?

Yeah, so?

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