Canceling a signed contract before departing--What are the repercussions?

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Hey, so first time posting on this forum. I hope to use it as a valuable resource as I make my way to China!

I recently received an offer from the private language center, METEN English. They are sort of rushing me to sign the contract so they can get the visa process started. However, I still have other pending applications/upcoming interviews with other schools. I don't want to miss out on this opportunity if it winds up being the better among the options available to me. However, I still want to examine other options. So, my question is what are the potential repercussions should I go ahead and sign the contract and then 1-2 weeks from now cancel if I find a better position? I heard on other forums that you can be blacklisted which can ruin any future opportunities in China. Other people say they could potentially sue you. Seems to be no clear consensus. What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks for your help!

« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 05:26:29 AM by tkeen »



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Conceivably they could sue you, but doing so from China wouldn't be worth their time or expense. On the other hand, once you sign the contract and they get the paperwork rolling, if they get the invitation letter issued and/or the Foreign Expert Certificate issued (i.e. they spend some RMB on the paperwork), they're not going to be happy campers and have a few tools in their arsenal to get back at you. Not sure about Letters of Invitation (that's under the Chinese Embassy system), but I do know you can only have one Foreign Expert Certificate issued in your name and that's logged into the FEB system nationwide. If any other place tried to get you an FEC, they would be blocked from doing so until the original employer released it. At that point they might hold it for ransom.

Also, they could report you to SAFEA which DOES have a blacklist. I've seen it. There aren't too many names on the list last time I looked, but it is there. It's on SAFEA's Chinese language website, not the English version. [size=78%]It's available to govt. schools and bureaus to consult if they so choose. My impression is not many do. Also, your name goes on the list only if the school reports you. Again, my impression is not many bother to do so, but if they're pissed off enough about what you did, they might.[/size]
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.



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  • You could be next.
I'd suggest stalling them by asking questions/negotiating certain contract articles until after you have interviewed with the other schools. As old34 has said, once an employer starts the process of getting the paperwork (from a couple of different branches of the government) necessary for you to apply for a visa, you will be 'in the system' and a different employer cannot do the same unless the original employer releases you... and they will have spent time and money on you.

Having several prospects is a dilemma almost everyone job hunting faces. You have to make a decision and treat signing a contract as if it's a 'done deal'. It's difficult, if not impossible to change employers afterward just because you got a better offer.
The Koreans once gave me five minutes notice - I didn't know what to do with the extra time.

There's a fairly small chance that they'd be able to stop you coming to China. A reasonable chance they'd be able to stop you getting a job in the same province or city.

What is certain though is that you'd cost them a lot of money when they applied for the paperwork for you, and you didn't come. I can't remember how much it is off the top of my head.

If you're honest with them and say that it's going to be a couple of weeks until you can make a decision, then maybe they'll have to move on and recruit someone else, but it's the only reasonable and fair thing to do.

Certainly schools that have lost a large amount of money, and people who have got into trouble for spending their company's money on someone who didn't come, are hugely motivated to find ways to stop those teachers from going anywhere else.