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For more than a two decades China Labor laws remained antiquated and subjective. There were double standards for local Chinese teachers and expat foreign teachers. In short, expat teachers in China were at the mercy of their employers and hopefully they would be benevolent and not compel them to work too many unpaid over-time hours. It was not good.


Things changed drastically over the past two years when China labor laws were amended to give all employees in China the same rights and protections - including us expats. Hoooray!  Unfortunately this sword cuts both ways, and there is no minimum wage for foreigners above that of local Chinese - however, most all of us teachers in China negotiate salaries that are no less than 10,000 a month plus a free apartment (See pay rate charts at But here are the other rights you now have in China as an employee that only the most honest China job recruiters and schools will ever even mention to you...


* You have the right to receive an original hard copy of your contract that is signed and chopped (red sealed) at the time you sign an employee agreement.

* You have the right to receive a written job description prior to signing your contract. It is up to YOU to make sure that job description is specific, in English, and not so vague that your hours, working days, work location, pay rate, holidays, bonuses, visa costs, air fare reimbursement, release letters, etc are clearly spelled out in no uncertain terms.

* You cannot be compelled nor forced to do anything not specified in your job description (which you should insist becomes and exhibit to your contract and also gets signed and chopped. This stops you from being used as a marketing monkey in shopping malls on the street handing out flyers).

* Your probationary period cannot exceed one month for each year of your employment contract. So if you are asked to sign a one year contract, your probation period should not exceed one month. If however, you sign a contract that specifies a 3 or 6 month probationary period, you are implicitly waiving your right on this issue.

* If you hold an FEC (Foreign Experts Certificate) you cannot be compelled to unpaid overtime hours without your consent.This one protection alone is worth about 5,000 - 10,000 rmb every month to some expat teachers in China.

* You have the right to receive both an invitation letter and release letter free of charge (These are both legal requirements and administrative duties of the employer).

* You have a right to a Z visa if employed in China (Again, this is a legal duty of the employers and of anyone tells you that you only get a Z visa after you complete your probationary period they are surely a scam operation to be avoided).

These are just some of your rights as an employee in China. To learn all of them, we suggest you attend one of our seminars held on this subject twice a year in Beijing and Shanghai. If you wish to be notified of the next one, please send us an email to as seating is usually limited to the venues that are donated for these activities.  BTW... If you do not have a Z visa in your passport you have no legal rights nor protections since you are working as an illegal alien and subject to arrest and deportation.



If your employee rights are being violated you can do three things to resolve the situation as follows:


1.  Make a written complaint to the Principal and FAO of your school that is both signed and dated, and make a few copies for yourself. Ask for a written reply to avoid any "misunderstandings" and thank them in advance for fixing the problem as you anticipate they will. It is only fair that you give them a chance to do the right thing.


2.  If you do not receive and email reply, you can then report the situation to SAFEA ( and to us at and both parties will inquire on your behalf. This is usually enough to resolve the matter.


3.  If however the situation does not improve within 30 days of making your written complaint, your next step is found at this link as a measure of last resort:


4. To help warn other teachers about the school that is exploiting you, we will send the school principal a warning letter, and if two other teachers have the same problems the school will be blacklisted for one year, enough time for them to improve their abusive behavior. 



Over the last two weeks a flurry of recruiters have been posting here repeatedly in an effort to bury the negative news about themselves on pages 10-20 here. It is a scheme they also use with Google after their fake reviews and fabricated "testimonials" are exposed.  Read this article at so you know how to quickly identify a China job scam recruiter or self-proffessed "agent".  (Some will even lie and say they are an HR staffer from a famous university just to get your resume) Fake China Job Recruiters  Basically, if a China Job Recruiter or Agent cannot provide you the following (that you can then verify yourself or through the CFTU or China Scam Patrol) they are either a front for an identity theft ring (They make $300 for every resume and passport scan they obtain), or a recruiter who will set you up for the classic bait and switch scam that you will only discover upon arriving in China:


* They cannot provide you a scan (not a photo) of their SAIC license issued by the Chinese government


* They refuse to provide you their street address or a land line telephone number that can be traced in the event of a problem


* They refuse to provide you a scan of their passport and/.or government ID card that provides their real and full legal names - yet they demand that you send your passport scan to them!


* They cannot produce an invitation letter clearly stating you need a Z VISA to work in China


* They tell you that you do not need a bachelors degree to work in China as a teacher


* They tell you it is okay and just fine to come to work in China on an L, F, M, or X visa and you can convert it once you arrive in China.


*  They tell you that you MUST have a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certificate to work in China (Not true)



*  They offer to sell you a fake diploma, TEFL certificate, or letter certifying prior work experience (Any of these will get you jailed and deported)


Remember that 1 in every 5 foreign teacher applicants become an identity theft victim within 6 months of applying for a job in China.  See here for details:

China ID Thieves Target Foreign Teachers



For the current 2014/2015 China forign teacher requirements contact your own embassy, the nearest Chinese consulate or embassy or read here in English:

Official 2014 - 2015 China Foreign Teacher Requirements  The average China scam recruiter makes an average of $30,000 a month creating legal visa problems for others and although they may offer you some teaching job, you will become an illegal alien in China if you do not arrive in China with a Z visa already in your passport. If you take a pass on their low-paying job offers, they will still profit from you by selling your personal information to an identity thief.


When all is said in done, this here is the link you should bookmark and read every time you are contacted by an unknown agent or recruiter related in any way to China...


About the law China: Beware of New Recruiter M Visa (Cultural Exchange) Scam That Is Getting ESL & TEFL Expat China Foreign Teachers Arrested & Deported


Recently some unethical China job recruiters got themselves arrested for peddling the wrong visas and fake documents to newbie foreign teachers inbound to China and now they are cooperating with China authorities in a sting operation using "M visas" as the bait. 


Plain and simple... it is 100% illegal to work on an M visa in China as a foreign teacher unless an only unless your receive an original hard copy invitation letter from a CERTIFIED and SAIC REGISTERED academy of art, music, dance, or a cultural institute directly with the special Ministry of Culture chop (red seal). This does not apply to schools that are "affiliates" or "cooperators" or "endorsed by" or "associated" with one of the above.  If you cannot obtain and verify the SAIC license number with the Ministry of Culture or directly with the SAIC - take a pass and avoid the grief, expense, and legal problems you will encounter AFTER you arrive in China.


Because of the difficulty of unregistered/unlicensed schools and recruiters  getting the required Z work visa for their teachers, many have resorted to this M visa fraud which is getting too many teachers arrested and deported in recent days. Forget what any recruiter tells you, you will not "just get a warning if you are caught". You will go to jail and get deported with a 3-5 year reentry ban and blacklisted from ever working in China again in any profession.  See: 

China Newflash: China Foreign Teachers Union Updated China School & Recruiter Blacklist & White List For 2015 - You Input Requested!

SInce 2010, the CFTU as served as an early warning system for all of you willing to take the time to investigate with whom you entrust your teaching career.  We have exposed 79 scams, 87 scam recruiters, 23 identity thieves, and best of all, found 897 honest and reputable schools that are now on our current 2014 white list.  Although our blacklist is updated every 90 days, our white list is an annual affair (much more comprehensive and tedious for our volunteers to deal with).  We count on YOU - the actual China ESL, TEFL, IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GRE  & AP teaching community to keep us informed of the good, the bad, the ugly, and of course the best.


Contrary to all the BS and rumors spread by our beloved China job agents and recruiters that we have exposed in the past, no amount of money will ad any school to our white list nor remove any entity from our blacklist. If five or more actual teachers endorse a school where they have actually worked for one year, and complete our survey below, the school is added to the whitelist, if we can confirm that 1) They are properly licensed to hire foreigners in China and sponsor Z visas, 2) Have no more than 1 unresolved complaint on file, and 3) Agree that a a CFTU rep can randomly visit the the school and privately interview up to 3 teachers selected by the rep.


Getting on the blacklist is not so difficult.  If a particlular agent or school receives more than 3 complaints in one year it triggers an investigation by the CFTU to determine if 1) The agent/recruiter is properly licensed to do business in China, 2) Willing to provide their true legal identification, and 3) willing to resolve outstanding complaints in a fair and reasonable manner.  If they balk and show no interest in resolving complaints or refuse to show proof of licensing, and present a verifiable government citizenship card or passport, they are blacklisted.  Grounds for immediate blacklisting aside from those above include:


* Caught selling or buying resumes from third parties

* Proven affiliation with identity theft rings

* Charging money for invitation or release letters

* Advising teacher applicants that they can legally work in China without a Z visa or bachelor degree

* Caught selling fake diplomas, TEFL/TESOL certificates, and/or fake referral letters of reccomendation


So, now comes the part where we ask you to invest 10 minutes of your busy day to help advise, warn,  or  recommend the agents, and recruiters you have used, and schools where you have worked for at least one year.  You name/email will never be revealed and you will never be spammed by the CFTU (We don't sell, promote, nor advertise any product nor service) For schools, this is what we need to know:


1- Your email and first name for any verification issue or clarification (especially if a complaint is involved)


2- Name and location of the school


3- Dates of employment


4- Name of the Principal, FAO, or Headmaster


5- Was their contract fair?


6- Were you provided a TA?


7- Were you paid for overtime hours?


8- What was your salary?


9- Were you paid on time and in full?


10- Was housing provided and was it clean and heated?


11- How many teachers lived in your shared apartment?


12- Was your contract honored in full?


13- Were your bonuses and holiday pay provided in full?


14- Were you provided an invitation and release letter free of charge?


15- Did your school require you to take TEFL or TESOL training and if so, at whose expense?


16- Did your school insist that you work with a specific recruiter and if so who?


17- Did you have to pay any deposits and if so for what and were those deposits refunded to you?


18- Were you provided practical and standardized curriculum or did you prepare your own?


19- Were you treated fairly, professionally, and respectfully by the staff?


20- Were you ever fined and if so, why and how much?


21- Did your school make any false representations to you, and if so please explain in 5 sentences or less


22- Did your school ever retain your passport for more than 3-5 days?


23- Did your school sponsor you for a Z visa and if so, at whose expense?


24- Did yur school ever ask you to lie to parents, students, other teachers or make a fake review?  Explain if the answer is yes.


25- How would you rate this school on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being "excellent" and 1 being "unacceptable".


Send your answers to this survey to



Regarding recruiters that you want to recommend or expose as being unethical or dishonest, just send an email to and be specific and civil please.  Reports that merely say "Li Peng is a greedy asshole" will be ignored.  We need specific examples and all the contact info for the recruiter and the name they provided you and their real name if you know it.


Since 2010, complaints from teachers have dropped 12% and the white list has expanded 18%.  So your feedback has definitely been making a difference. Our goal for 2015 is to build our white lst to at least 1,000 licensed schools, universities, kindergartnes, and learning centers that hire foreigners. We thank you for your continued support and cooperation. Our new white and blacklists will be published no later than January 10th, 2015.  To learn more about our many free programs and resources, please visit


Happy Holidays To All!

The CFTU Staff





China Scam or Schemes: UFEIC aka Bilingo China Recruiting Scam is Quite Clever - Beware China Foreign ESL & TEFL Teachers!

This is truly a devious little fraud. It won't cause you to lose any money but it may cause you to lose 5 of your friends!  It shows you just how little ethics can be found in China. I found this gem at another ESL message board and you will appreciate the boldness of the perpetrators, who buy the way have been blacklisted for two or three years already...

I really felt awkward last week when I went to a job interview at UFEIC in Sanyuanqiao area of Beijing. They also market under the name of BiLingo China 

After I gave the expected 30 minute demo class they asked me to give them the following which makes me wonder if I was just helping them to recruit foreign teachers??? 

They ask me to give them five names and phone numbers of foreign teachers in China that worked with me and could vouch for my "reliability & professionalism". I only had four people I felt comfortable giving as a reference so I used my GF as the fifth. 

Today my GF got a call from "Jane" at Oxbridge Recruiters who asked my GF if she was looking for a teaching job, near to our apartment. When my GF said she would consider it, "Jane" said to expect a call from "Monica" who would arrange an interview. 30 minutes later "Monica" (Monica Chang) called and guess where she worked? For UFEIC and wanted my GF to go tomorrow for an interview. This is the same "Monica" I interviewed with last week! 

So we both had a laugh when she got off the phone. Then we tried to look up "Oxbridge Recruiters of Beijing" and there is no such creature on Google or Baidu. 

But gets better. Before I left my interview at UFEIC, Monica asked me to send her a sample ppt and sample lesson plan that I had created in the past to demonstrate by ability to create these materials. 

Did anyone ever ask you guys to do stuff like this before in addition to a demo class? And when I did my demo class, it was in a classroom with three tutoring students and Monica didn't even stay in the room! She set up a video camera and then came back in 30 minutes claiming she was too busy interviewing to stay in the classroom! 

The only reason I went see them in the first place is because an old colleague (Alvin) was the FAO there and last week when I went and asked for him they said he was "not in the office". I just called Alvin a few minutes ago to talk about this but he said he has not worked there in over a year, and was "not allowed to talk about it", and hung up. Anyone who knows Alvin knows he is a easy-going guy who is hard to anger. Go figure."


We would like to hear from you. If there are scams or schemes you know about or have been privy to, please add your story. The only way to thwart the threat of scams is to make other teachers aware of them through collective experience. 

If you ever encounter what you believe to be a scam and want to take action, you can report it to: Federal Trade Commission at 

Please read this in Q&A: The FTC has no legal jurisdiction outside of U.S. Click here Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

In addition, there are international agencies such as ICPEN that handle cross-border/international internet fraud.

If you wish to contribute to us, add your story today.

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