Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Discussion about jobs in Asia inc. Middle East

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by stewardly » 13 Feb 2014, 09:35

I will give my personal opinion here. Demand for teachers in China is relatively high and on daily basis the demand keep increasing due to the increasing demand for English proficiency as a requirement for hiring Chinese for jobs. The demand is for Persons who are native english Language Speakers or those with good western accents. This placed a lot more pressure on Parents to make sure that their wards get the best out of Education by insisting their wards are taught English Language. As a result of Chinese One Child Policy, Children get the highest attention from both parents due to the fact that they the only children at home. To the extent that some parents hire teachers to teach their Children one-on-one basis. There is a myth out there which deters others from venturing. I will also not just put it out there that the there is no incidence of cheating or scams these are evils in every society but it is good to note here that it is rewarding to be a teacher in china. It is only individuals who are in a hurry to make money and will not take time to recruit the teaching offers due to desperation that get cheated. It is also a fact that guanxi ( Social Connections) is a necessary social capital in china in order to succeed.
I Visited China 2 years ago on an internship program organised by a chinese company, where I got addicted to Mandarin and I wanted to learn it. I therefore returned to china again just to learn the language then I met a lot more agents who paid me like 130 RMB ($21) and as a student, I managed it till I completed and applied to my masters in World Economics on Chinese government Schorlarship which I got and had another teaching job paying me so well. I wont put the figure out there but if anyone cares to know, they can check up on line or better still, ask any friend living in china.
You need to visit china first and tour the place, know the people well, establish good contacts and be ready to learn. then you can come back again to make it big afterall it wont cost much. sometimes good connections could even get an individual all that is needed to comfortably stay in china without going through all the forth and back experiences I had.
This is my advice. Just play your cards well and Bingo !!!

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by Worlda » 20 Mar 2014, 07:20

Great post, totally true. I feel much safer living and working in China then I did when I lived in Chicago!!

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by Blink » 17 May 2014, 23:02

I think the OP is overly optimistic and may be promoting China in the shoes of a recruiter. Crime-wise China is safer than America or London. There are no street muggings or rapes, or murders, but every foreigner will eventually be swindled by an agent or a school, and have their bicycle and iphone stolen (China has the best pick pockets in the world). And if you are not on guard 24-7 you may be like 1 in every 5 expat teachers who suffer very expensive identity theft as you can read here... ... _monthly_1

The next biggest danger is from health hazards. China has horrible air and water pollution as well as a Hepatitis epidemic that the Chinese government plays down. 12% of the population is infected with the contagious disease. Thank god that it is not fatal, but if you catch it you will constantly be tired and the medication is super expensive ($80 per week). And if you do not wear an air filter mask in the winter, you will breath coal dust, dioxins, heavy metals, and other carcinogens into your lungs - all proven to cause cancer after only 1 year of exposure.

But the biggest danger you face when teaching in China starts before you even get here - when you sign your contract. This link explains what I am talking about... ... ment-agent

So that is my personal take on "risks" and "safety" of working in China, and I have been here six years already. Believe who you like but take care and always guard your personal data.

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by serendip » 13 Feb 2015, 11:51

Physically "Yes". Financially "No". One must wonder why we have to pay for the flight there if demand is so incredibly high.

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by Astro » 16 Feb 2015, 23:41

I agree with Blink here and will say that physically you are safer in China than America. Violent crime is not tolerated here. But you are never safe from all the many scams and most of them come from job, visa, or travel agents. I got the below "RED FLAGS" from an expat web site that says this is how you know whether or not any agent is legitimate or just another scam...

1. Employees all use Chinglish names like “Peter Gao” or “Susan Liu”. These are fabricated ghost names that are virtually untraceable.

2. Their web site is less than a year old (or they don’t have one at all)

3. Their web site uses a .org or .cn domain.

4. Their web site contains no verifiable street address for their office.

5. Their web site has no land-line telephone number published – only disposable mobile numbers.

6. They demand copies of your passport before you receive a written job offer and sign a contract.

7. They cannot produce a color scan copy of their SAIC Chinese business license which can be verified on line.

8. They insist on meeting you in a coffee shop or your office – never their own.

9. They always fill out your visa application in Chinese so you cannot understand if they are lying or not.

10. They are not members of the BBB or any legitimate Chamber of Commerce. (if they are US-based)

11. They use disposable free emails like gmail, hotmail, sina, 163, qq, 126, yahoo, etc.

12. They claim there is someone else with your same name in the computer system and they need your taxpayer ID (SSN) to clarify for the Chinese visa bureau.

13. They tell you that you don’t need a Z visa right away and to just come to China on an L, F, or M, visa.

14. They offer to sell you a fake diploma and/or TEFL certificate, or FEC

15. They tell you that you have a job before you ever even interviewed with the school or director employer.

16. They never give email confirmations of verbal promises made to you.

17. They rush or pressure you to sign a contract giving a fake deadline that is only a few days away.

18. They ask you for the names and phone numbers of your teaching colleagues as a professional references. (They are later contacted and offered jobs in China)

19. No written job description with the name and school location is provided to you until after your arrive in China.

20. They ask for up-front money or a deposit of any kind.

21. They coach you how to lie when applying for your visa.

22. They tell you that the average wage for expats in China is 5,000-7,000 yuan per month.

23. They tell you that you must use a visa agent because the application process is very complicated and confusing and/or all the forms are in Chinese! (absolutely false).

24. That without a TEFL certificate it is impossible to find a teaching job in China that pays more than 5,000 Yuan per month.

25. That your China employer must hold your passport for a 3-6 month probationary period.

There is a blacklist at Be careful people!

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by SafeTeach » 05 Mar 2016, 03:57

There are a lot of good comments here (of course you should ignore those of the recruiters or school administrations). You should be safe in China as long as you work DIRECTLY for a school. NEVER work through an agent or for an education and consulting company, etc. Make sure you have all the details of a position before you make any plans to move or sign anything. A legitimate school should, after the initial interview, be able to provide you with the name of the school they represent, pictures of the school and apartment (if applicable), references of other foreign teachers that are working (or have worked) at the school. A decent school should be covering the costs of your visa and residence permit and be paying for any training time. Do your homework and search for the school in multiple search engines using key words such as "Company X + Reviews", "Company X + Scam", etc. I wish you all the best of luck and happy experiences teaching in China!

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by Norman » 28 Mar 2016, 13:01

It is safe IF you have a LEGAL Z visa and work for a school or learning center that is authorized to hire foreign teachers. Otherwise you stand a 50% chance of getting your but deported after a 30 day stay in Chinese jail. See below which I clipped from another message board:

"The Public Security Bureau of China is now cracking down on a large scale on foreign teachers using illegal Z visas and 132 of them were arrested in the last 27 days alone. It looks like they plan to meet their New Year's pledge to deport 3,000 illegal foreign teachers this year. What is an illegal Z visa?

It is a visa sponsored by a third party and not your actual employer. So if you look at your invitation letter and it does not match the legal name on your contract or the schools website or their SAIC business license, you have been bamboozled and are at risk of being arrested and deported. Granted there is a 50% you will not get caught. But do you want to risk a felony conviction on basically a coin toss?

A guy named Guo Bin was just recently arrested in Beijing and the PSB is going through his hard drive and cell phone records as you read these words. If you got your visa through him or any other shady broker or unregistered black agent who charged you a fee to get a job or visa in China, CHECK YOUR INVITATION LETTER NOW, and voluntarily leave China before you get caught, or demand that your employer get you a new Z visa in THEIR name. If they refuse, check with SAFEA in your Province if your employer is even allowed to hire foreigners.

This is now the biggest scam target foreign English teachers in China and it is one of the best kept secrets. Please warn your colleagues."

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by GTunion » 22 Jul 2016, 11:11

Yes, China is really safe for teachers who are coming from other countries. Talking about the ESL teachers, there are lots of opportunities. This nation has realized the fact that English is a very important media to communicate and it is worldwide accepted. The Chinese schools are including this language among the subjects so that the students can easily expand their career in the international market. The salary is also high depending on which city you are going and what the age group you are teaching is. Finding the right educational institution and arrangement for accommodation is possible if you take help of the right organizations. is one reputed agency that offers job placements to foreign teachers at reputed schools in China, along with arranging temporary accommodation and visa support. You can visit the site of this agency to know more.

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by Caitlin » 07 Sep 2016, 15:42

Hi there,

If you are considering working as a teacher in China, I would check out the information on teflhub here It has lots of useful information and recommendations to help you make a decision on which location is best for you. Good luck!

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Re: Is it safe to work as Foreign Teacher in China?

Unread post by Saturn » 21 Sep 2016, 10:29

Caitlin is obviously plugging her own business here which is not allowed. But if you are interested in be sure to ask to see their SAFEA and SAIC registrations and licenses or they are just another black operator in China. You can check the China Liar's List at or the many black lists of China ESL foreign teachers posted online.

As for the OP itself... China is very safe from crimes if you work and live in a Tier 1 city. But in other regards you need to be aware that there are other dangers such as;

1) Hepatitis epidemic
2) Unscrupulous, unlicensed agents and recruiters who will cheat you
3) You can get arrested, jailed, and deported if you are caught working without a Z visa (required by law)
4) Identity theft is rampant in China (see
5) STDs are aalso a big problem to be aware of
6) Black training centers and private schools that are unlicensed are likely to cheat you.

I suggest you all take a quick look at and all

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