Tips for teachers in China


China Tips

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When looking for an employer, be sure that they can get you a Category B permit in teaching and that they provide you taxation number for your personal income tax. With your taxation number and Alipay account, you can get into the government taxation computer records to see if your taxes are being paid. Taxation, bank accounts and your employment are all linked together now and if the bank doesn’t have your taxation number, the government can and will seize your money. You will also not be able to exchange Chinese Yuan (RMB) into other foreign currency. Most companies, schools, education centres, etc. will tell you they are paying your taxes for you but they actually aren’t, they are paying their own business taxes so that they don’t have to declare the foreigner’s salary or show that they are illegally hiring a foreigner. Remember, the first 5000 Yuan is tax free and if the company is legal, they can allow you to use your government rental receipt as a write-off against your income. 

Be wary of schools who offer free accommodations. This has a lot of disadvantage for the teacher. Schools would now control your visa, living conditions, job, and salary and able to track your professional and private lives, you may not have the freedom that renting your own apartment gives you. Schools use accommodations as a controlling tool and most abuse their powers over the teacher. If the school wishes to dismiss you, you could find yourself, homeless, jobless, broke if they don’t pay your last pay and with visa problems because you can’t either get your release documents or have only 10 days to change your visa. It better to come home at the end of a day and rest your head on a pillow that you know can’t be taken from you.

Be a good citizen in China. Always work legally, make sure your documentation is up to date, your banking information is updated, be sure you have your Temporary Residences Permit up to date (the registration at the local police station) and always know when your visa’s expiry date (never overstay). As Foreigners in China, we must represent our home country in a positive way. Stop for traffic lights, follow the rules the best you can, speak respectfully to others (especially to any government representative) and properly behave yourself in public. This is not your country, you are a visitor in a foreign land and you should respect the government laws and the people you meet in this country. Some foreigners come to China thinking they have Rights, well you don’t, the only Rights you have are follow the laws and rules. Things are done the same way as your country and you have to accept that and learn the culture, even though some Chinese have forgotten their own culture. Simply, be respectful.

While searching for a good employer, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. A respectable employer believes that he is not at the top of a pyramid and that the point of the pyramid (of a successful business) points downward. Most school owners and masters think the other way around but it’s their employees that get thing done and can make or break their business. The floor sweeper is more important than the CEO or Chairman of the Board because without their employees, they are nothing. This doesn’t mean the bosses and managers aren’t in control, they are the people that are smart enough to guide the school or business in the right direction but, at the same time, they should listen and understand others who work for them, have empathy and care about their employees’ thoughts and wellbeing. The higher management guides the school or company to follow the guidelines according to the government’s requirements. If you have ever heard an employer talking about “being a team player”, the bosses should also be “part of that same team” because the success of the business affects everyone. Supervisors and management should be willing to explain themselves and their actions to their employees, if they want everyone believe that they are part of a team. Transparency, honesty and communication go a long way.


Be very careful who you work for. Schools are generally allowed to hire foreign teachers because they have an education license BUT most education centres (90%) do not have an education license nor are they allowed to employ foreigners or allowed to have students in their centre. It takes a lot of time and effort to get an education license from the Education Bureau, Mainly because the Government feels there are too many education centers on the market. Health, Safety, Fire and Building Inspections have to be done to the build before allowing children or students of any age inside the build. A long with this, the government is very picky on, who gets a license, to protect the parents which paid the fees, the students that are directly affect regarding the business’ teaching parties and the employees working in the centre. Since November 2018, the government has been closing down these illegal education centres and the foreigners caught working in these centres are being fined, even jailed and deported. If deported, a foreign can be banned from re-entering China for 3-5 years. Keep in mind, any school who employees a foreign illegally, really doesn’t care about the foreigners safety in China but does care able making money with high risks.