LaowaiCareer
teach english in China
Career Advice
8

Legal Aspects Of Being An English Teacher In China

China is one of the world’s biggest and most fascinating countries. For Westerners looking to gain valuable experience living and actually working in a culture well beyond their own, China is an ideal location to investigate.

Both the rich history and the exciting, evolving modern way of life attract many English teachers to China. From the beautiful countryside to the stunning architecture, there is so much to explore, and the people themselves are becoming more and more connected to the Western world.

As you might imagine, the desire to learn English has never been higher; not only as Chinese youngsters look to actually visit Western countries as tourists or students, but also for their futures in the business world.

Of course, moving to China to teach English is not a quick and easy process. There are many areas to consider, not least the legal aspects of relocating. Certain criteria must be met, and the process of application can be incredibly confusing.

This article is designed to be the only guide you need to help you understand the legality of your upcoming move to China.

Article continues after jobs recommendation

What Type of Institution Should You Consider?

You have committed to teaching English in China. What now?

The next step is to consider which level of education you’re able and willing to work within.

In China, English teachers are given work in various institutions:

Kindergartens

Teaching English in Chinese kindergartens demands little external work or preparation, and so may be one of the more simplistic options. Obviously, the ages of children you would be working with is very young, so you must be comfortable helping them develop and maintain an understanding of the English language.

Given the complexity of the English language, breaking it down and fostering the youngest children to understand it may be more difficult than working with older students. However, the rewards would be myriad, not least in the amount of fun you would likely have in such an environment.

The salary for teaching English at kindergarten level varies, but is typically around RMB 150 (roughly $18) per hour. You may find there is more on offer, though, depending on the school itself.

Boarding Schools

In China, boarding schools are actually quite abundant in both the major cities and rural areas. You can earn between RMB 4,000 and 9,000 per month (around $480 and $1090 respectively). You would also receive an apartment and payment for your plane trip as well.

Vacations are also generous, with a month to celebrate the spring festival, a two month break in the summer, and an extra two weeks as a paid vacation.

Camps

When you choose to teach English in China, you may be able to work in winter and summer camps, which usually last from a single week to even a month. However, the pay is around RMB 5,000 (approximately $600) per two weeks.

These can be hard work, but provide the ideal environment in which to discover whether teaching English in China will be for you without making a longer commitment.

Universities

You may be able to teach at a Chinese university if you carry the required qualifications. Most of today’s Chinese universities feature a department dedicated to foreign languages or English itself. Depending on your background and certification, you may be able to find a job as a ‘foreign expert’ to teach courses of a higher level. This would equate to a higher rate of pay.

Salaries provided from one university to another will vary, though you can typically expect to receive accommodation close to or on the campus itself.

What Type of Visa Must You Apply For?

Before you can work legally in China, you must apply for a visa. This can be confusing for many people, especially when travelling so far from the UK or the USA to China.

However, the embassy tries to keep the process as simple as possible.

In order to work in China as an English teacher, you have to apply for a ‘Z’ visa from a Chinese consulate or embassy – this is today’s sole valid visa for workers. Additionally, you also need to secure sponsorship from your future employer, so be sure you can arrange this early on.

You MUST take care to secure the proper ‘Z’ visa before you begin working. Even if you accidentally receive another visa (such as the ‘L’ or ‘X’), you may well be hit with significant fines or possible detention.

What Do I Need to Get My ‘Z’ Visa?

To actually secure your ‘Z’ visa, you need to have a specific set of documents.

This includes:

• Your visa notification, which will be sent to you by your Chinese employer
• Your ‘Work Permit for Aliens’ from the Chinese Labor Ministry OR your ‘Foreign Expert’s License’ depending on the role you apply for (this latter license will be granted by the Chinese Foreign Expert Bureau
• Your valid UK or US passport, which has A MINIMUM of six months left before it expires
• Your Visa Application Form (Q1), which should be fully complete, and a single passport photograph
• You should include 50 dollars (US)
• You should also receive a health check which proves you are free of TB, HIV, and do not use drugs

How Do I Apply for a Residence Permit?

When you apply for your visa and your passport, you also need to secure a residence permit. As well as your ‘Z’ visa, your residence permit will allow you to teach – this applies to you whether you are regarded as a Foreign Teacher or as a Foreign Expert. Don’t worry, though: your future employer will ensure you know which of these applies to you.

As a Foreign Teacher, you and your employer will work together to help you secure a Foreign Teacher Resident Permit (otherwise known as the Green Book) at the nearest Public Security Bureau. Before you can receive this, though, you need to make sure you have the right documentation:

• You need your ‘health certification’, submitted by the Beijing Exit & Entry Inspection & Quarantine Bureau
• You need your valid visa and passport
• Two recent passport photos, showing your full face and bare head
• You also need to include the official seal of the unit on your completed Application Form for Visa, Residence Permit’, as well as another picture as above

For Foreign Experts, you also need your original and copied versions of your ‘Expert Certificate’ as delivered by the National Expert Bureau of Foreign Affairs Office of the Municipal Government.

We are dedicated to helping you find the right teaching job in China. Whatever questions and concerns you may have, our team will help you find the answers, preparing you for your exciting new life in this beautiful land!

Liked the article? Please share it on social media 🙂

Legal Aspects Of Being An English Teacher In China
5 (100%) 1 vote

Related Posts
how to write a thank you email after an interview
How to write a thank you email after an interview
fudan university
Fudan University
interview tips
Top 12 Tips To Ace Your Interview

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

8 Comments
  • lutfi othman
    Reply

    Is it ok to teach English using student visa?

  • Karen Taylor
    Reply

    Thanks for the info. I’m a Jamaican citizen and I am an experienced Diploma-trained English teacher. I have taught at the high school level and also adults.

    Are they hiring from other countries besides the US and UK?

    I have no knowledge of Chinese language. How important is that in scoring a teaching position?

    What are my prospects of getting a job there and would the process for visa application be the same for someone like me?

    I’d like to consider online tutoring as well.

    One final question, do the schools provide a curriculum or do you have to create your own?

  • Stephanie
    Reply

    It seems crazy to me to make things so difficult for someone who want to come help your nation. Teaching the youth of your country, English could be critical in the nations progress. I wonder how well the teachers are compensated, especially in comparison to the poorly paid teachers in the United States.

  • Raymond Hall
    Reply

    Interesting information. Definitely useful for anyone considering teaching abroad. I wonder how teaching in China compares to other countries, in terms of pay. Also, is the demand for English there? The main attraction for me is that I’m sure Chinese students are much better behaved and disciplined than the ones here in the UK.

  • Hassan S
    Reply

    Putting the author’s view in context, i feel china is need a global destination fro prospective teachers especially those of the English language. However, lets not ignore the unnecessarily strict and conservative work procedures that come with working in this great nation!

  • Hamfriendy
    Reply

    Its not easy to get all the legal, information of being an English teacher in China. Choosing from institution and visa to residential permit, all the needed information is here.

  • Sayeed Hussain
    Reply

    Is it possible for me to visit china on a tourist visa and attend some interviews while I am there? Is there any consequences for this? This would be a great way to utilize my visit.

  • Chris Humphrey
    Reply

    Interesting, what are the price comparisons for United States University english teachers versus that in China? Could be the tipping point since professors in USA are so underpayed… hmmm.