departing for the most historical and perhaps mysterious land on on earth (China), the China Foreign Teachers union wants to remind you of a quote by the late Steve Jobs who said..."There are two ways to learn in life; from the mistakes of others, or the hard way." In hopes that your stay in China will be a pleasant one with the least unpleasant surprises, we need to warn you that only Nigeria has more scams that target foreign expat visitors and employees than China. But now that you know this, here is how you protect yourself from abuse and exploitation;
1 ) Get and read a copy of China's Labor Laws which to some degree will protect you against illegal contracts, unpaid overtime work, and extortion - all three of which are a systemic problem if you work for a Chinese employer in China. You can get a free copy of China's Labor Lws by sending an email to CLL[at]ChinaForeignTeachersUnion.org
2 ) BEFORE and we emphasize BEFORE
you sign a contract or buy and airplane ticket, take five minutes to google the name of the school you plan to work for in China, along with the key words "China, foreign teachers, scam, school, problem, complaint, blacklist" and hopefully you will not get bad news. Most all of the public schools and universities as well as the international schools in China are legitimate and fairly honest, but the private Chinese-owned schools and kindergartens are notoriously "problematic".
3 ) Do the same Google search using the name of your recruiter/agent with the same key words. If bad news comes back to you, delete him from your memory, don not answer another email or call from him and look for a direct employer yourself (not difficult) by visiting http://www.ChinaScamBusters.com
When using an agent/recruiter, use this below form letter to ensure that you get full-disclosure related to your employment. If your agent refuses to answer every question, either get a new agent or find employment directly. (click on link to get form letter)http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Cwr6phRxu3M/U ... er-001.jpg
4 ) Be sure to bring at least $2,000 and a Chinese phrase book with you to China. Very few people over age 30 speak English and in case you have been misled or deceived about your new job or housing arrangements, you at least have enough money to return home. Also know that to rent an apartment in China most foreigners must pay 3 or 4 months rent in advance (including deposits).
5 ) If you require any special medications, being a large supply with you as western medications are difficult to find here and when you do find them, prices are exorbitant. If you take organic vitamins, use stick deodorant, or use Neopsporin, bring plenty with you because you will not find any here.
6 ) Check to see if your health insurance covers you in China, because if not, your trips to the local hospitals here can be quite expensive since foreigners are often charged double. Even a few stitches could end up costing you $1,000.
7 ) Don't plan on bringing your cat or dog with you because it will be kept quarantined 90 days at your high expense, and roughly a third of all animals die while quarantined in China.
8 ) Do not bring any cigarettes, liquor, porn, or drugs with you as all will be confiscated at the airport and the last item will get you five years in a Chinese prison (even one joint).
9 ) No matter where in Beijing or Shanghai a tax driver may take you, make sure he uses the meter and no fare will exceed 100 yuan (about $15). If he wants more money than that call the police and refuse to pay. Also avoid beautiful girls who approach you at the airport and invite you for tea or lunch. This is very common scam pulled on 85% of all newcomers.
10 ) Get any and all employment promises made by phone or by email SPECIFICALLY
included in a written contract from your employer and agent with their signatures and seal and date on each and every page of the contract BEFORE you sign the contract, and certainly before you buy a plane ticket. This contract must state that they will provide you a Z Visa and invitation letter BEFORE you depart your homeland. If not, you will be in violation of Chinese law (See this link for details http://www.onlinetefl.com/tefl-chalkboa ... hers-union