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avoiding job scams in China
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Fool Me Once – Shame on Me

Avoiding Scams In China when Applying For Jobs

China’s employment scams

While China is a land of opportunities, there are many employment scams (visa, terms, salary, extra hours, benefits legal scams etc.) that are likely to come your way when you set out to look for a job in this wonderful country. The following are examples of such scams as well as ways to avoid them. Learn from the experts and avoid many problems coming your way. We are the best and the most trustworthy China Based job board, dedicated to helping our clients from all over the word land great career opportunities. By taking precautions and following some of the steps in this article, you will be able to smoothly transition from your native English speaking country to China.

Teach English as a Foreign Language

Such jobs can be a marvelous way to experience China’s beauty while at the same time gaining experience in a discipline that is growing at a tremendous rate. Do not, however, jump at the first offer you come by without taking the authenticity of the job. Continue reading to get some tips on how to steer clear of scammers who have successfully ensnared many innocent souls over the years. Many of the job offers that will pop out when your search for these jobs are scams out to fleece you of your money. Be especially suspicious when the adverts do not insist on certain basic qualifications. For instance, according to SAFEA (State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs), all prospective teachers should possess a Bachelor’s degree in addition to teaching experience of not less than two years.

China job scams

Legal requirements

For a school planning to hire TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers, the law requires them to be registered by SAFEA. Any school that does not meet all of these standards could be a scam. You will realize that many such schools are registered as companies so as to bypass the otherwise expensive yet necessary process to obtain a license. This is a deliberate attempt by unscrupulous persons to evade the law and leave many foreign job seekers at their mercies. Ensure the person promising to hire you is not one of them. Learn from us and always counter check what they say and what the law says. Such schools are mostly mere language training centers. To be on the safe side as a TEFL teacher, opt for public universities and either primary or secondary schools. Primary schools and secondary schools tend to be more secure offering genuine teaching vacancies.

Article continues after jobs recommendation

Qualified and experienced individuals

Prospective teachers who have a Bachelor’s degree in addition to two or more years of experience should find the experience of landing a teaching job relatively easy. All you need to do is visit websites such as tefl.com and get hundreds of teaching positions, which are updated on a daily or even hourly basis. With such an experience, therefore, you do not need to go through a recruiter; all you need is information and common sense. Start by asking for contact information of a few TOEFL teachers currently working, or who have previously worked for the schools in the country. Hear their perspective to get a sense of the appearance of the actual working conditions. Do not put your trust in the rosy portrait used in the teaching job posting.

Identity Theft

The other more serious though not very prevalent scam involves identity theft that has been seen in many cases reported over the years. We dedicated out time to conducting research to find out the cause of this scam and what we obtained was baffling. Identity theft is mostly carried out by bogus recruiters. Such recruiters collect prospective teachers personal data from passport scans, visa copies, and Curriculum Vitae posted online before selling them to identity thieves for a hefty price.

Do not fall prey to this type of scam; preserve sensitive documents for last minute job discussions. Any serious employer will always know that such scammers exist and will not want you to send such crucial documents online. If an employer is too quick to demand that you send vital documents, take a closer look at their credentials. Let no one fool you into believing that there is an urgent need for employees so much so that you have to send your documents online for them to review immediately. Chances are your employer is after just that: your documents.

Using a Tourist Visa

Some so-called respectable employers and language centers illegally recruit their unsuspecting foreign individuals from abroad and after that bring them to China on tourists’ visas. Be warned that the authorities are cracking down on such employees. Regular inspections are carried to net such employees, and if you are caught, you will have to part with a lot of money for fines. Even worse is the fact that police at times confiscate the passport of such employees, leaving them stranded in China.

To avoid such scams, avoid recruiters or schools who promise to fly you into China on a tourist visa. As a matter of fact, teachers are required to first pay for the obligatory trip to China’s capital to obtain a visa on their own. If your potential employer does not recognize that you must first secure a work visa before entering the country to start working, know that they could be scammers out to frustrate you once in China.

tourist visa job scam

Doing extensive research is the best way to avoid scammers

This is the most effective way to avoid scams. Do ample research on the industry you want to work in. Establish the normal teaching salary, visa requirements and working hours. After knowing what you should expect, you will be better placed to spot a scammer from a mile away. The following are some pointers that can help you know if the person promising you employment is genuine or simply a scammer only interested in your money

Unreasonable salary

If someone is promising you double the usual salary, for half the typical working hours, run for the hills. It is a scam. For the case of China where the laws of the land require a teaching certification, if your potential employer cares less if you have a high school diploma and to make the matter even worse, promises to pay you more than the normal salary, watch out. Chances are it is a scam. Nothing prevents a reputable company from hiring qualified workers. Additionally, all employers are business people out to make money. The fact that they are willing to pay you well yet they do not insist on qualifications is a cause for concern.

Consult the Search Engines

If you are keenly interviewing with a company, take just a few minutes to type the name into any of the search engines such as Google. You will be surprised to learn that most of these scammers are known and as such will pop out on blacklists or even articles written by the ESL (English as a second language) community. If the language center’s name does not come up but you still feel something is amiss, search their email address, name of their website, or phone number. You will find links that will lead you to genuine reviews of the center. Be sure to clear any doubts you have before committing to any contract.

Use a trustworthy job listing site

The internet, unfortunately, permits anyone to assume the role of a publisher, including persons out to rip off innocent employees and ESL teachers. Luckily, there are websites you can still trust to give you genuine reviews. Identify such websites and use them to better your chances of landing a job of your dreams in China. Trust referrals by persons from your country on such websites.

Read widely about their reviews before using them. If a school lied to the site and is hence blacklisted, in the spirit of “Fool me once-shame on me…” do not trust such a center. Employers and schools with reviews from former teachers have a higher chance of being genuine. While nothing in this day and era is foul proof, reputable job listing sites have tried and tested screening processes that effectively eliminate scam job postings. The fact that some even charge employers to post their listings implies that those whose sole intention is to make a quick buck are deterred.

Double Check email addresses

A common trick many scammers employ is posting job adverts using the name of a reputable and renowned school or company. Be sure to double check their address to notice any similarity with the prominent companies. Google search the name of the prospective company so as to obtain sufficient amounts of helpful information about the company.

You can easily spot scammers using their email address because they tend to use the name of the school or company on Gmail as opposed to the official domain that belongs to the organization. Note that some companies have yahoo or Gmail email address. We are in no way implying that using such addresses is necessarily a red flag. However, for centers that are well known you should be able to track down their information account on the school’s website ensuring that the address domains match.

Upfront Payments

Avoid sending huge sums of money before you arrive in the country. There are very few reputable organizations that have such payments. There are many ESL scammers who demand you first wire money to their accounts for a security deposit, a plane ticket, visa and other prerequisites. Be especially cautious if your potential employer asks you for Western Union transfers. Granted, some programs may require you to buy your own plane ticket on the strict understanding that they will reimburse you on arriving. However, programs demanding that you send money to them before you arrive should be given a wide berth. They are only after your money and will ignore your calls as soon as you transfer the money, leaving you frustrated, broke and bitter.

Request for references

Prior to accepting any foreign job, request to speak to at least one current employee. Such an employee will be in the best position to tell you everything about the program; from working conditions, working hours, and housing, and if something goes wrong after signing the contract. If the school declines to give you contacts of someone presently working in the program, do not hesitate to ditch the company. Trust your gut when it tells you it is a scam. Such an organization that is scared to allow you speak to its employees is definitely not one that you would want to work.

When things are too good, think twice

If a job offer seems too good to be true, probably it is. Avoid jobs promising to offer you a lot in salary plus months of fully-paid vacation. Spend enough time figuring out the rationale of paying you such huge amounts of money and you will realize that the more you think about the offer, the stranger it appears. A school cannot be totally different from the rest. Opt for programs offering reasonable benefits. Such programs are more likely to be genuine.

beware of chinese job scams

Conclusion

Always trust your gut. If you suspect something bad about your prospective employer, contact their current and former employees. They will give you a clear picture of the working condition there. Spend time doing your homework by searching for any potential company using the keywords “complaints,” “scams,” or “issues.” Arm yourself with facts and ensure that the company you settle for is a reputable organization that will not only respect you as an employee but also conform to the terms of the contract you will sign. Always use common sense, know the law, avoid shortcuts, and ask the right questions. By doing so, you will find China a very interesting and fulfilling country to work and spend your life in. There is no point trying to cheat the law only for you to regret the rest of your stay in China.

 

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Fool Me Once – Shame on Me
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10 Comments
  • Jane Dunn
    Reply

    I think scams are getting better in China. As in, there aren’t so many of them. I’m glad I applied through a good website like LaowaiCareer and not through somewhere else. I don’t think I had any scams sent to me when I was applying for a job. I might be wrong though, I just cleverly missed them 🙂

  • Derrick Dunn
    Reply

    The final comment about not believing in things which are too good to be true is a strange one. Some of the jobs out here seem to be too good to be true, but then I apply for them and everything seems to line up. I mean, a position teaching for just 20 hours a week and offering a salary of 30k CNY per month is really good right? I’m finding a lot of offers like this here on LaowaiCareer and I took one company up on the offer and now I’m earning just under 30k. Not a scam. Sometimes too good and be true too.

  • Stephanie
    Reply

    It is so sad to think about all the scams in the world today, and it is even sadder that some people lose everything to these scams. Thank you for an article that describes Chinese job market scams..Being informed is how you can protect yourself. Information is power, and there is good information in this article.

  • Hamfriendy
    Reply

    I love the title of the article the most. After reading through, I can say that besides keeping all the documents ready, it is also necessary to keep instinct really strong to stay in China.

  • Hassan S
    Reply

    It is simply amazing how one of the world’s biggest economies is still faced with such petty scams. Don’t you feel the authorities could do a lot more as this is a big cost to the Chinese image abroad?

    • Reply

      Thank you for the comment Hassan. As is the case throughout history, there are people who strive to make their own lives better and those who strive to better themselves and society. The authorities in China work hard to continuously fight scams for the benefit of society , but as anywhere in the world, there are still those who are out to scam people for their own benefit. The authorities could be doing more, but this is just one of many issues the authorities are up against.

  • Shannon
    Reply

    All of the articles on this site seem to be very informative, but I like how this blog gets into the details of typical scams in China. Teaching English in China is a desirable job for many (including myself), so I liked how you included information on scams that tend to revolve around that. This is really good advice for avoiding scams in any area of employment, though, even outside of China.

  • Sayeed Hussain
    Reply

    Thanks for the info. Its not usual for someone to highlight bads, people talk all good and no bads. I think Usually people in teaching profession are naive and can easily be a victims of such scams.

  • jen
    Reply

    This was a very informative article. Extremely helpful to know what you should watch out for when applying for jobs in China, staying away from the scammers that are out to get your information. Very well written.