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Author Topic: If all else fails  (Read 7930 times)

nihaoguy

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If all else fails
« on: May 13, 2009, 08:21:02 AM »
Hi my names is Grant...

A typical story heard a million times before...but I will add to it the official solution as to have it dealt with properly.

Situation:

Teacher gets job, but no visa.
School lies to the teacher indicating that they are indeed getting the visa, but after a time the teacher learns he/she actually has no visa at all.

I was in this situation and this is what I did....

Step 1: Call your Embassy. They cant do much but now it has been officially reported to your government.

Step 1a: Write to the Foreign Affairs Bureau Beijing. (I wrote everything (as listed hereafter) in English just to remind them how dependent they are upon foreign teachers.) A simple letter...."Teacher needs help" and why.

Advice: Do not give away any contact info other than your email address. This process takes some time to achieve and you will need all of your time to complete these actions without interuption in order to make the process successful.

Step 2: Write to the Governor of the province in which the school of your employment resides. (same letter as in Step 1a)

Step 2a: Write to the Provincial Foreign Affairs Bureau. (same letter)
Step 2b: Write to the Provincial Education Bureau. (same letter)

Information interjection before I continue:

1/ One does not need to take these letters to the govt. in person. All of these bureaus (Departments) have online complaint's submission forms at their websites. And these complaints do get read and are answered; albeit in Chinese.
2/ With each new letter: At the bottom of the second letter I had indicated that I had already sent the letter to the Foreign Affairs Bureau in Beijing. Every letter thereafter I added to this list with the previous recipient's details. So this list got ever longer as I continued this process. This is helpful for both you and the government workers, as it gives a clear indication of the paper trail.

Step 3: Write to the Mayor of your province's capital city. (same letter)

Why? Provincial government handles laws but local government enforces these laws. In such a situation one can be certain that the office of the provincial govt. will call the same office of the province's capital to seek advice before determining the next action.

Step 3a: Write to Foreign Affairs Bureau capital city. (same letter)
Step 3b: Write to Education Bureau capital city. (same letter)

And the paper trail gets longer.

Intformation interjection #2:

1/ Do not expect a reply for these letters (but you should recieve a reply). All one is doing here is building a knowledge base for those that need to know. If one recieves a reply then...."well isn't that nice." and "Thankyou"
2/ I changed the letter slightly for each scenario from this point on. I will explain as I go.

Step 4: Write to Foreign Affairs Bureau (Local Govt.) Here I changed the main topic of the letter to "I have come to make a complaint against my employer."

Also this is the first office I went to in person. I kept the conversation simple..."I want you to recognise this letter, file it, and keep it as a reference for when another department asks for it." All was agreeable.

Step 4a: Write to Education Bureau (Local Govt.) Here I changed the letter's topic to..."I have come to report a school that has acted wrongfully against my employment contract."
Then I concluded this letter with "I think because of this school's misconduct the costs of getting a new visa, the responsibility for the crime, and the fault of the events listed lie with the school."

Again in the meeting keep it very calm and very simple.

Step 4b: Wait....wait for the government's and the school's phones to run hot.

Wait for the government heads to have their meetings.

Wait just long enough so that the school is nearing panic stage (in my scenario about 2 days from Step 4a.).....Then go to the local PSB office. Public Security Bureau.

Walk in to the PSB and show your letter at the front desk (with the long paper trail list attached) and ask to see the boss.

Wait....

When you get your entry permission to see the boss of the PSB say to the boss in a respectful but firm voice; "Here is the problem. I would like it fixed......(grrrr)....Please."

And sometime later....

"Thankyou for my new visa and have a nice day :)"

The worst possible scenario from performing this process is repatriation.
Ok, but it aint a black mark, and the school has to pay for your repatriation.
A week later you can re-enter China...if you would still want to :)

Steps in brief:
Write your Embassy.
Write Beijing.
Write Provincial Govt.
Write Province Capital Govt.
Go to Local Govt. with your paper trail on display.
Smile :) and this is very important.

Hope this helps, but then again I hope that you never need to use this.

 
 
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 10:01:15 AM by nihaoguy »
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BrandeX

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 08:54:55 AM »
Congrats, I am surprised that letters to multiple government offices written in English weren't all ignored.  ahahahahah

non-dave

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2009, 12:27:13 AM »
Great info... and I'm guessing a successful outcome for you. Well done!
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2009, 06:53:41 AM »
I certainly agree with the "Call your Embassy" and "Smile" parts.

I hope the other parts work out for you. I share the dubiety of your letters ever being read...or even opened.

Bear in mind that it's quite common in China for the police and other PTBs to hold YOU responsible for things that are really the school's (or even their own) fault...such as working without having full legal documentation.

Also, bear in mind that the Power Flow Chart in China looks like a plate of linguine. Despite what you might think, within their purview Local-level offices quite often outrank both Provincial- and even National-level offices.

Finally, bear in mind that in China, official whim/personal interest easily outranks The Law. The Chinese fully expect their officialdom to "protect" them from you, the suspect and scheming foreigner, regardless of right or wrong. It's very unlikely that any high-level Bureau or prominent person is going to bother to involve themselves in a small-scale labor dispute at all, much less go to bat for you against a Local Boy, or participate in anything that could make China or a Chinese person look bad, except possibly in cases too egregious to ignore (ie physical violence)...and they likely won't appreciate your trying.

Based on my own experiences and observations, I see two other very possible results here:

1) If the school owners are well-connected, and you've made sufficient noise, you are summarily tossed out of the country as a troublemaker.

2) If the school owners are not well-connected, and you've made sufficient noise, the school will be closed down for illegal hiring of foreigners, the owners heavily fined, and you (and all other foreign teachers there thus affected) are summarily tossed out of the country for not having work/residence permits...and very possibly heavily fined as well.

I'd advise a somewhat different course in this situation:

1) Talk to the management of your school. Show them the clause in your contract where you're promised a residence permit and work permit (NOT a visa; a visa will do you no good here. You can't work legally on just a visa, other than the 30 days grace a Z visa can get you while the permits are obtained), and politely but firmly insist that this is a condition of your continued employ, while smiling broadly the entire time.

2) If this does not succeed, IMMEDIATELY:
   2a) Call your Embassy.
   2b) STOP TEACHING. (This may in itself get results from your employer.)
   2c) Go the the local PSB (Police) Foreign Affairs Bureau. Start with the counter clerk, who will probably blanch and bring in a manager. Politely explain your predicament, tell them you immediately stopped working when it became apparent that the documents weren't forthcoming and you would become an illegal worker, and ask if you can be given a bit of time to find legal employment. You may well be given a short-term Temporary Residence Permit on the spot, or at least a visa extension, especially if you smile a lot.

3) Find another employer who will deliver the legal documents you require. Most cities have schools that are frequently hiring, and hey: you got feet! You also have the option of going to another town.

Of course, if this course fails, you'll have to leave China and perhaps try your luck again. But that's also what will happen if the original course fails, too...and my way is a lot less likely to rile the homeys. bjbjbjbjbj

NiHao, please keep us posted. I'm very keen to see how this turns out for you.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

nihaoguy

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2009, 08:45:52 PM »
This approach actually worked for me hence my need to have this guide posted.

No ifs / maybe's / could be ~ but maybe not's....
It did actually prove to be of success.

Here's the rest of the tale just to set some stray ideas aside:

The Provincial Govt. office called me directly based on my online post; albeit my English online post. They wanted more details sent to their private email box, and etched in Chinese.

Ok I can live with that.

I proceeded forward through the steps as listed, after the sending of that email. As I was but 5 minutes away from the gates of the location of my final step, yet another telephone call resounds a flicker of hope; this time from the local Education Dept. telling me to return to the school. The bosses there must, and will correct the problem.

And today they are.

And just one more note to show why this approach is an improvement on other approaches; as much as Point 2c of Raoul's post is very proper in its conduct....

Two cities / 7 years / Many times have I heard the quietly spoken tale of teachers that have sufferred deportation. Always a little different, but almost always the same too.

As typical of the human species and it's mundaine ecentricities of complacancy, I never thought it would happen to me; but 'Lo and Behold' it did! To my surprise.

In all of the similar instances that I am familiar with, poor Mr or Mrs Unfortunate One walks into the PSB saying "Please can you help me....."
And in all of those cases Mr and Mrs Unfortunate One was deported.

Its sad, and its true.

Here's a simple fact: If there is no case to show to the PSB staff, then you have indeed broken the law. They will send you to the manager (boss) and the boss will agree that you are breaking the law. Simple really, and thats the way it is.

"N-E-X-T!"

With this point Raoul is indeed correct in saying;

Quote
The Chinese fully expect their officialdom to "protect" them from you, the suspect and scheming foreigner, regardless of right or wrong. It's very unlikely that any high-level Bureau or prominent person is going to bother to involve themselves in a small-scale labor dispute at all, much less go to bat for you against a Local Boy, or participate in anything that could make China or a Chinese person look bad, except possibly in cases too egregious to ignore (ie physical violence)...and they likely won't appreciate your trying.

However, that having been said; after making formal complaints to the Foreign Affairs and Education Bureaus about the employer in question, now the PSB have a case with a well documented paper trail to work with, and names to call on for reference and suspects to investigate.

And you may just get that chance to win the argument as I did.

Honestly; when I was taking that last deep breath as I was approaching the govt. office to make my last point of call....I was petrified to say the least, "I am but one person....who's going to believe me?" This was my mantric question of that day.

So I posted this here to help.
If you read it, then be happy in acquiring a little wisdom.
And if it helps you, then wisdom has indeed proven itself as rich as knowledge.

Yesterday....
     
 llllllllll  :wtf:

Today....

 agagagagag  agagagagag     

And tomorrow....

 llllllllll  bfbfbfbfbf
         
Always struggling on in a country where everything seems to be going in reverse.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 09:45:02 PM »
You, sir, must be a fair dinkum letter-writer. I'm very happy for you...and very impressed. bjbjbjbjbj
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2009, 09:03:33 AM »
Hey, NHG, a question on this...
Is your employer a public school or university, or a private institution of some kind?

Typically when I've heard of a situation where the school promises documents but doesn't deliver them, it's been a private school that didn't really have the legal right to issue the documents in the first place, and was forced to pull attempted switcheroos out of sheer desperation...
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

nihaoguy

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2009, 01:56:19 AM »
Ummm....Its a hybrid of both Public and Private schools.

And this made the trouble somewhat harder to deal with as I'll explain in a moment.

It was a Public Middle school. A joined venture with a famous Chinese university and is one of the better Middle / Senior High schools in the area.

The school, when I visited the first time had other foreign teachers, all visa'd and so on. Hence my not having any hesitation about starting work there.

However I learned later that my department was a second joined venture between the Public School and a Private Company.

Never judge a book by its cover.

So trouble occurred as I went throught the steps (as listed)and had reached local Govt. level. The city Ed dept. told me I was to go to the 'school area Ed dept.'* first to make my complaint as my teaching dept. was actually considered as a Private School; not considered as part of the bigger school.

Confused? I was. My contract was titled as from the bigger school and certifiably stamped and signed as so.

Again never judge a book by its cover.

The city Ed dept. continued in saying that I will probably need to return to them to take the case to the next level if the school area Ed dept were unsuccessful in their renderings of my complaint.

As it happened the area Ed dept. did ok.

Overall I have absolutely no complaints with the govt.'s handling of my situation.
I refer back to my advice posted earlier; if one prepares their case properly, it can be handled properly.

* - 'School Area Education Dept.' The city I am referring to is divided into 3 main parts governed by the Local City Govt. So the "School Area" refers to the jurisdiction related to where the school is situated, and the Ed. dept. that is assigned governance over that area.
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Mr Nobody

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2009, 02:02:11 AM »
This tells me some very interesting things about the govt here that I actually thought were untrue, and gives the lie to some things I thought were true. I lean somewhat towards Raoul's cynical thoughts, myself, but....

What you say gives me some hope that maybe the baijiu swilling buttheads occassionally do their jobs.

Sigh, There I go again, with the optimism. I'll just lie down a bit, I am sure it will go away.
Just another roadkill on the information superhighway.

nihaoguy

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2009, 06:00:48 AM »
I believe the trick is to catch them immediately after the 2 hour secretary banging sessions at ktv. Things get done in that 10 minutes of alertness :)
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2009, 09:18:55 PM »
OK...the connection to the government school very possibly helped a lot. In a purely private school- where most permit problems seem to happen- you'd have most likely gotten little help from the government.

I'm glad it worked out. I really encourage people to not take the abuse and to fight back...and this is an absolutely splendid example. agagagagag
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

nihaoguy

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2009, 01:50:31 AM »
Thanks Raoul.

And having written the post here adds a sense of wellbeing to a not no pleasant experience.
If it helps others then it has been a task worth enduring.

So thanks again for giving me the chance to share the experience.
Always struggling on in a country where everything seems to be going in reverse.

друг всего мира

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2009, 10:08:17 AM »
This has been a very, very useful thread.

Re the Embassy, however, at least for Yanks, here are my own comments based upon my own experience.

1.  The Consular Section of the Embassy in Beijing is worthless, beyond worthless, beyond, beyond worthless.  They will render no service at all, provide no help at all, and will not endeavor to help a mere citizen.  You will spend hours on the telephone with automated voice messages and when and if you finally reach a real person, he or she will give you the bureacratic heave-ho.  Never, ever in my entire life I have ever seen a more unhelpful American Embassy in my life.  Not even in Lower Slobovia.

2.  The Consulate General in Shanghai is even worse, if that is possible.  They simply don't answer their Citizens' Services telephones at all.  When and if you finally reach a receptionist, he or she will tell you that that he or she is only part-time etc., etc.  It represents something out of a play by Kafka. You could be hit by a car and half-dead, and they simply will not render any assistance at all. None. It is just disgusting.

3.  The one exception to all of this is the United States Consulate General in Guangzhou. They are very on-top-of-the situation and calls placed to the Consulate are usually taken by local staff and promptly routed to an American Duty Officer on request.  They were amazingly on top of the things, just amazingly so.  But they were the single exception in all of China (thank God that they are the biggest and best staff consulate).

4.  I have had no dealings with the other United States Consulates in the other parts of China.

5.  Complaints to Washington about Items 1 and 2 above are not even answered.
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2009, 10:17:09 AM »
I'd definitely second this on the Shanghai offices. They were fine for routine Consular matters, but very little help on much else, and almost impossible to reach, often even in person. asasasasas
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

nihaoguy

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Re: If all else fails
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2012, 06:12:35 AM »
This has been a very, very useful thread.

Thanks :)

The above comment is also true.

The difference in my events and the above comment is that I created a paper trail.

China is still very much a paper stamping machine and needs (IMO) a paper trail before looking further into a matter.

A small side topic: I helped a guy held jailed in PSB about to be deported. Via telephone called his embassy, called recommended foreigner lawyers, called other Local Govt. Depts, no one wanted to help.

Back to point: By creating a written paper trail, and those papers are stamped in front of you, then you can know it aint going to be buried, pushed to the side, or forgotten.

It doesn't make you right or even guarantee that you'll win the argument, but at least it's filed.

I think the moral is.....get it in writing, and by as many Depts as you can, then at least you have a chance, regardless of nationality.
Always struggling on in a country where everything seems to be going in reverse.