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CCTV Investigates Sketchy English Teaching Industry in China

Posted: 09/3/2014 9:48 am

undercover english teaching cctv report

English teachers in China are now finding themselves in the government’s crosshairs.

CCTV went undercover to investigate a language school in Harbin, Heilongjiang and found many schools hired teachers who didn’t have proper teaching or employment certificates. This is obvious to many of us who live and Cracwork in China, and has been going on for years. But the new attention from state media indicates a crackdown may be coming.

The TV report said all foreign teachers must apply for a Foreign Expert Certificate from the Bureau of Foreigner Expert Affairs from their school, and a work visa provided by the local PSB in order to be permitted to work in China.

undercover english teaching cctv report


The crackdown on illegal English teachers is nothing new. Last August, “several” teachers at English training schools in Nanshan District, Shenzhen were arrested for working illegally. And yet, more teachers continue to stream in to meet the high demand for language learning. Just one month after the previous raid, the local Shenzhen government revealed an initiative to hire 175 English teachers for placement in 125 public schools.

Still, here’s some good advice: no matter what your school says, make sure you are properly certified.

Here’s the CCTV report:

For more on new labor laws enacted last year, here’s a link.

undercover english teaching cctv report

[h/t Lost Laowai]

Photo: screenshots from Youtube

  • Zen my Ass

    I’m totally pro it, but bureaucracy needs to be simplified and made more logical…

  • Nate B.

    I’m all for it, but let’s face it. If you were a qualified teacher, than you probably wouldn’t go to China. You would probably go to South Korea or Japan.

  • Robert Clarke

    I have an TEFL and several other teaching certs but China makes it so damn hard to get the right visa, First of all you need to find a school that is properly registered to hire foreigners then you need to go back to your own country (in most cases).

    It would make much more sense that they allow you to apply directly for the visa yourself without the school or that they make it much simpler for schools to register foreigners.

    I for one would have no problem paying tax and so on if it meant I could work here easier and without fear of the PSB come knocking.

    • Kevin McGeary

      In this country, a lot of illegally earned income is taxed anyway.

  • pete

    Certainly teachers should be certified. However, the really dirty part of the English teaching business in China is in the administration of the English schools. Do an article on that or are you only interested in making foreigners look bad?

    • Guest

      This is exactly the problem. Many (possibly most) teachers without proper visas are, in fact, properly certified, but they are unable to obtain the proper visa because of the school’s lack of proper licensing.

      The licensing process is extremely difficult to complete and completely impossible without participating in the rampant corruption and bribery that exists in the Chinese bureaucratic system.

  • sam ho

    Funny to see how people are complaining about visa being tough to get and complicated.

    US H1B was even more complicated and u looked down upon Chinese immigrants then did anyone of you bother to protest against ur govt to make it easier for them then :)

    China is still relatively much much softer on illegal workers than USA

    • sam ho

      US HIB was used just as an example of how western country policies where towards hardworking chinese who just wanted to make a living and have a nice life like u do today

      • Longshot

        I think u better check ur statistics b4 u make flimsy argument. All wht u r saying r born out of hatred. It’s only in China that illegal immigrans are imprisoned b4 they’re been deported. Why shd deportees be imprisoned b4 being deported? After serving at least a month in prison they’re forced to buy their own plane tickets. What’s the sense in imprisoning them when the person’s offence was over staying? Check ur facts well to make sense next time.

        • sam ho

          Why dont u check your facts first , first minor overstay doesnt lead to imprisonment and why should Chinese govt agree to your view that prolonged overstay must also not be jailed , you westerners want to judge the whole world by your standards.

          Anyone committing prolonged overstay knows he is on the wrong side of law so he is by nature an outlaw and it is better to not forgive and encourage such behaviour , you may have different standards for treating violators go and voice them in your country

  • Johnna

    I am definitely all for it! With the removal of the unqualified and/or illegal teachers, those of us that have all the correct and legal credentials could find jobs easier.

  • Toothless

    Lets face it, they want foreigners out now.
    They had their fill.

  • tpr007

    I have the proper qualifications and the right visa (now a residence permit). The bureaucracy and disorganisation of Chinese authorities make ita painfully slow process, but if you and the company you work for are legitimate then there are no excuses for being illegal.

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