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Author Topic: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?  (Read 4775 times)

Naws

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TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« on: August 16, 2011, 06:40:44 PM »
Hey guys, my first post here. I am talking to a few schools right now, trying to get a decent position for September.

This one school in Quanzhou offered me a contract which seems pretty good. It is a kindergarten position for 9000RMB, 25 teaching hours. Everything seems great with this school, however the owner told me to come on an F visa.

Now I know enough that it is technically illegal to work on an F visa.

His reason was that first, I am too young - he said I need to be 23. Also, he said that I need a TEFL certificate to get a working visa. He told me that he will get me to take a free TEFL course that the school holds, then he will convert my F visa to a Z after about 6 months.

I've searched a lot and can't find any specific information regarding actual requirements for the Z visa. Other schools I am talking to told me that they will get the Z visa right away, or I will have to come on a tourist visa and get it converted due to the time constraints.

So can you guys help me out, are his reasons legitimate or should I stay away?

nicenightforawalk

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2011, 09:36:26 PM »
Do you hold a degree??? You havent mentioned it?

The generally accepted ruling for legal visa/legal employment is to hold a passport from a native speaking English country, a BA/BSc and two years work experience. Due to this, I guess a minimum age may apply. Havent heard that a TEFL cert is a legal requirement, although some employers may insist on one.

In fairness though, if you have a BA in TESOL, and approaching two years work experience in a language school, straight out of Uni, I dont think age would be an issue with any employer with a bit of clout.

It might be wise to post the name of the prospective employers. This might tell you more about how legit the offer is. Rules in China are rarely absolute, so although I have stated the above, there will be people in China who are there contrary to the rules.

The free TEFL course the school offers probably isnt worth the paper its written on TBH. Id be pretty sure of that. Id also be amazed if they would transfer an F to Z/RP later on too. Is it schools you are talking to, or recruiters?

To some degree...at least this guy is being a bit more honest than the other schools...if the rule about age does apply, at least he is forewarning you...

I would suggest posting the employer name, and searching for that employer...that is going to be very relevant in your decision I think. If someone here can give you the lowdown on the employer it may shed some light on their visa claims.


Naws

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 10:02:18 PM »
Sorry, I forgot to mention I do have a degree. Although I only graduated a few months ago so I don't have two additional years of work experience. I have a year of volunteer teaching experience plus several years of part-time work experience that I did while completing my degree. Does this count? Anyway, it doesn't seem like this rule is often followed because I have heard of several new grads teaching in China, plus other schools offered me Z visas and don't care about the work experience or age.


The employer is Rockies English School, they are supposed to be a Canadian owned company and are based in Dalian. I haven't been able to find any reviews about them.

ToddDano

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 10:33:57 PM »
I've heard, like nicenightforawalk, that you need 2 years of work experience. However, I will be working at a University in Nanjing that is sending a couple other Americans (22 & 23 years old) to Beijing for a week and a half long TEFL course which will allow them to bypass the work experience. However, I think they will then need to go to Hong Kong or Taiwan to renew their visa. Which is good and bad.
Goodluck and welcome to Raoul's! agagagagag It's the most useful site I've found!
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

jpd01

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2011, 01:12:28 AM »
Well you know the "rules" for employment on a Z visa are loosely enforced in some areas and strictly enforced in others. Areas like Beijing and Shanghai tend to be stricter than smaller places because there are a lot more foreigners there to choose from.
Teaching English after graduation is very common, on any given year there are probably thousands of fresh grads around China teaching English before heading out into the world to begin a career.
As for rockies I can remember being offered a job from them a couple of years ago and I passed. I can't remember the reason but it was probably visa related. As for it being a Canadian owned company I would take that with a massive grain of salt as it's most likely either a complete fabrication or at best a token ownership.
I would advise not to enter on an F visa in 99% of cases, if the school is asking you to enter on anything but a Z then it probably is a good bet that they aren't accredited and won't be any time soon. If they need 6 months to organize a Z visa for you then it's probably not going to happen at all once the 6 month period arrives.
If you aren't looking at tier one cities (beijing, shanghai, guangzhou etc) then you should be able to pick up a job pretty easily in the smaller places.
If i remember correctly some places will ask for a minimum age of 25 but really those are just pipe dreams in most cases outside the big cities and they will take what they can get as there is and probably never will be enough foreign teachers to fill demand across China.

Keep plugging away, you'll find something better. In my opinion it's always better to go with a job that pays less but offers legal work over one that pays more but makes you work illegally.
"I don't understand what I did wrong except live a life that everyone is jealous of." Charlie Sheen.

Borkya

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2011, 01:58:48 AM »
For what it's worth I had zero experience, no TEFL certificate or anything and I had no problem getting a Z visa or a job at a public uni.

I also feel like your offer is a little shady. Even if they are legit and telling you the truth about getting you a Z in 6 months well, that is 6 months of working illegally, like you said, and you will probably need to make a few visa runs to get it renewed before they convert it. (Can you get a 6 month F visa. Usually it is 2 or 3 months, right?)

Anyway, that sounds like a big hassle for a potentially not worth it job. I think them admitting you will work 6 months illegally is a bad sign, and they will just string you along and you'll never get legit. i also think the age thing is just an excuse to screw you. Like jpd said, there are lots of fresh grads teaching in China and they can get a z visa, so you can too.

ericthered

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2011, 04:03:29 AM »
I agree with Borkya, there is a shady feel to the offer. Basically, I would not trust any institution which could not provide a z visa and I would never ever go to China on an F visa and then blindly trust some school to convert it...That is how a lot of schools here work, they offer a huge salary, convince you that it is all ok to arrive on an F visa, you arrive and sign contract and suddenly it turns out the 9000 is actually 4500 and you will have to pay to go to Honk Kong to convert the VISA or similar crap...rule of thumb, don't take any job that does not guarantee a z visa...as for experience, it all depends on the school. Universities have become more strict about teachers having experience, kindergarten and middle school not so much. I would advice you tell this school to go bugger themselves with a rusty nail and look for another job offer, there are tons of them.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde.

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"The stars are God's daisy chain" Madeleine Bassett.

nicenightforawalk

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2011, 07:11:23 AM »
You have googled this school right? I did a quick search using Rockies English School as the search term and found one negative review...although to be fair, the reviewer did sound like a moaner. Id check google again, use several search terms and also look for an area specific forum and look there.

Regarding visa, I have worked on an F visa before. I had them for 3 months when volunteering, then for 18 months when working at a vocational college and also for 6 months when working at a training centre in 2010. Each visa was issued for 6 months at a time, and in the training centre job in 2010, I stayed on an F even though I was offered a Z/RP. I have never had any problems with visa or employer. My last housemate was working in a public school on an L visa when his school was raided (not sure why it was raided). He got ticked off along with the school leader and was told to convert to an F, which he did before continuing to work.

But, China is complicated. What was OK for me yesterday in one place could be totally different for you tomorrow. I am going back to my 2010 employer next month and this time have been told I must travel with a Z visa. It just takes one change of staff in a local visa office to change everything.

The key thing for me is the job. Do you have a real need to be teaching in that location, and do you have a deep routed desire to teach that age group? If the answer to both questions is 'YES', then I would be tempted to take a chance with the visa. If you are just looking at the big salary and hoping things will work out because the money is so good....well, thats a recipe for disaster IMO. 

Naws

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 08:43:49 AM »
Thanks for the replies everyone. Aside from the visa issue, everything else about this position seems to be better than the other offers I'm getting so I do hope this would work.

I spoke with the manger today and had him explain the visa situation so heres what he said:

Basically, he said that it would be legal for me to work on the F visa because it would be issued by the main central company. He is saying that it is not illegal for me to work for his company when that company issued the invitation. He said that it becomes illegal when the F visa invitation is issued by a third party.

He also mentioned that he could get me a Z visa within 3 months if I really wanted to but that would involve some manipulation of documents or something like that because I don't have a certificate, which is why he would prefer to do the F visa.

I have not idea if this is I in fact legitimate, so if anyone is an expert in these matters, please help me out or point me in the right direction where I can figure out the rules myself.

jpd01

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2011, 09:19:47 AM »
First of all, no it's not. An F visa can be used on rare occasions for work but it's a business related visa, not a working Visa.
It is most often used if your company needs to send you to China for a short period of time (up to 6 months) and the benefits included do not extend to earning a legal taxable income within China.
Most of the time the inviting company will send out the invitation and when you are in China you will receive a place to stay and a living allowance (not an income) as you draw your oveseas income in the normal way.
A residents permit obtained via a Z visa is the only way you can work and earn a legal income in China.
Add in the fact that this manager is telling you that your visa is going to be issued and is valid in a completely separate province to the one you will be working in I'd say that raises more concerns and doesn't relieve any whatsoever.
Lastly, they say that they can get a Z visa for you but only if they forge documents in your name. Honestly you have to decide if you are comfortable with that or nor. I sure as hell wouldn't be, fact is that if it's found out that your docs are forged it's going to be your ass on the line and definitely not the schools.

For me this offer just keeps getting worse the more you explain it, I'd walk away in a heartbeat if it was me.   
"I don't understand what I did wrong except live a life that everyone is jealous of." Charlie Sheen.

ericthered

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2011, 09:37:24 AM »
Look, Naws, you have to bear in mind that there are a million schools in China which are run by scummy, lying, soulless, heartless, demon-spawned, pit-fiend bastards who will pour all manner of sweet lies into your ear to get you to come and will lose no sleep if and when they screw you over.
As jpd01 so rightly states, it is not now nor ever will be legal to work on a F visa. If the school are making this much fuss about it, I would very much question their credibility as a school. A school actually, to be a proper school, needs to be registered and have permission to apply for work permits and help to get Z visa. I wholeheartedly suggest you do the following: tell them that you want a letter of invitation so that you can apply for the Z visa at your local embassy. If they give you another song-and-dance, cut them loose and seek employment elsewhere.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde.

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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2011, 11:25:27 AM »
Welcome, Naws! agagagagag

Things like a TEFL cert have NO bearing on your ability to get a visa or permit. A college degree is required in order to get a Residence Permit...and that, not a Z Visa, is what you really want. The Z Visa is just a way to get you into the country and upgrade you directly to a Residence Permit.

It does seem like an age requirement is becoming more common...it was much more rare in the old days (pre-Beijing Olympics). I guess they really want us to have a chance to work after college?

These aren't universal, however. If the job doesn't work out, keep looking. Someone somewhere will be more than happy to get you in. bjbjbjbjbj

As for visa/permit rules...as you'll see elsewhere, there really isn't such a thing as a firm, universal set of rules. After considerable experience and research, it's become apparent to me that even the Chinese organizations responsible for issuing and administering the documents don't know any more than we do. Welcome to China. llllllllll

The reality seems to be that the rules and their enforcement can vary wildly from time to time, place to place, person to person...and then they can all change again suddenly at any time, usually with no warning or notification. Again, welcome to China. ssssssssss

The best bet really is to work with the FAO (Foreign Affairs Officer) or other staffer at your school. With any luck, they should have as good an idea as any what can and cannot be done in their place and time. (Sadly, however, this isn't always true, either. ananananan )

Again...if you're stymied in this job, keep trying. Be very upfront about your age etc. Sooner or later, something viable and reasonably attractive will come along. bjbjbjbjbj
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nicenightforawalk

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2011, 12:12:46 PM »
Naws - What is better about this job? Its a lot of hours teaching kindy (which may be your bag, but for most of us  aaaaaaaaaa), there are negative reviews out there, and there is confusion over the visa issue?

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2011, 12:22:59 PM »
Apologies, nicenight, if I was grouchy.
I was, uh, grouchy.
bibibibibi
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 04:13:40 PM by Raoul F. Duke »
"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)

nicenightforawalk

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Re: TEFL needed for Z visa? Is 22 too young?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2011, 12:38:35 PM »
I think its relevant Raoul. It is his/her own business of course, but in requesting advice and information from the forum its not an unreasonable request to make. On the face of it ... the general feel is that its a bad option. Confusion over the visa/unfavourable reviews and (making a bit of a sweeping statement here) probably the least favoured student age group.

But...there could be something about this job that supercedes that that we dont know/that hasnt been mentioned.