Recruiters SILENT SCAMS -- Know Your Rights!
Silent Scam Cheats China Expats & Foreign ESL & TEFL Teachers Out of 40% Of Their Wages
Sometimes what is not said is worse than what is actually said. Anyone who has been married probably learned this lesson the hard way. But in this "SILENT SCAM" we are talking about expats and their jobs in China. Over 500,000 of us came to China to cash in on their economic boom, but 80% of the expats here wound up being English teachers, even if they never taught anything to anyone back in their homeland. Still their native English is much better than what is found locally. But getting to the scam...
80% of China job applicants go through a recruiter who finds many devious ways to milk each applicant for as much money as possible, with the exception of literally a handful of honest guys who apparently value their reputation. They will keep 40% of your salary, trick you into working illegally, etc.
These recruiters will tell you only what they want you to know!
COMMON RECRUITER SCAMS:
A) "You will only be paid 50% of your salary for your 90 day probationary period"
B) "You don't need a Z visa until after you complete your probationary period"
C) "If you don't do well on your evaluation, your probationary period will be extended to 6 months.
D) "Since you don't have a TEFL certificate nor 5 years previous teaching experience, you will work 6 months as a teacher intern at 50% salary, and then 3 months at 75% of full salary, and your last 3 months of your first year you will collect full pay"
These are just come of the many lies told to the newbies and guess who gets to pocket all that extra money? Yep, the recruiter. The same recruiter who told the applicant that full pay is $1,200 a month when it is really $2,000 a month! Often the recruiter will split this money with the school's principal or headmaster to go along with the game. Fortunately this ploy doesn't work at the public schools and universities of China - only the private schools and learning centers. But teachers working without a Z visa, have no rights at all since they are classified as "illegal aliens" and when caught will be jailed and deported.
The CFTU (China Foreign Teachers Union) recently did a quick poll of 500 expat teachers in China and found that 70% of them were totally unaware of the above employee rights and have all been working unpaid overtime for months, and 32% for more than a year. So if you add up all the skimmed money from the unpaid overtime, the monthly $300 hair cut, the bogus 50% intern and/or probation period money, the employee is being robbed of about 40% of his/her total pay - maybe even 50% if they throw in the lie about the "20% China automatic income tax deduction"!!!
Silence in China is indeed golden! Now you can understand why the CFTU gets bashed and trashed so much by recruiters pretending to be fellow teachers recruiting on ESL & TEFL message boards or expat forums, after being outed as one of the above skimmers. And the sad part is... they are not all Chinese! See the below links:
Foreign teachers in China are the lowest paid expats in the country, yet they are the most targeted by the fraudsters and ID thieves. Teachers are supposed to be teaching lessons to others. But in China they are the ones learning them - the hard way. If you are one of them, I suggest you visit http://chinascamwatch.org and make yourself scam-proof in a hurry.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!!
* You have the right to receive an original hard copy of your contract that is signed and chopped (red sealed) at the time you sign an employee agreement.
* You have the right to receive a written job description prior to signing your contract. It is up to YOU to make sure that job description is specific, in English, and not so vague that your hours, working days, work location, pay rate, holidays, bonuses, visa costs, air fare reimbursement, release letters, etc are clearly spelled out in no uncertain terms.
* You cannot be compelled nor forced to do anything not specified in your job description (which you should insist becomes and exhibit to your contract and also gets signed and chopped. This stops you from being used as a marketing monkey in shopping malls on the street handing out flyers).
* Your probationary period cannot exceed one month for each year of your employment contract.So if you are asked to sign a one year contract, your probation period should not exceed one month. If however, you sign a contract that specifies a 3 or 6 month probationary period, you are implicitly waiving your right on this issue.
* If you hold an FEC (Foreign Experts Certificate) you cannot be compelled to work unpaid overtime hours without your consent.This one protection alone is worth about 5,000 - 10,000 rmb every month to some expat teachers in China
* You have the right to receive both an invitation letter and release letter free of charge (These are both legal requirements and administrative duties of the employer)
* You have a right to a Z visa if employed in China (Again, this is a legal duty of the employers and if anyone tells you that you only get a Z visa after you complete your probationary period they are surely a scam operation to be avoided).
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