You cannot legally work on the above visa!
For more than a decade over 20,000 expat foreign teachers were working illegally on tourist, student, and business visas. If caught the worse you could expect was a fine, a stern warning, and 30 days to get legal (obtain a Z work visa). Times have changed drastically since the new visa law took effect in September of 2013. No more warnings. Instead, foreigners caught working without Z visas are now arrested on the spot and detained until a stiff fine is paid, and then after you hand write a letter of apology for the government captors, you will be deported within 10 days – all at your own expense. If you happen to be a student at a Chinese University or even engaged or married to a Chinese partner – tough luck. Say goodbye to China for at least three years because when you get the boot you will also get a 3 to 5 year reentry ban.
In May of 2014 alone, 379 expat foreign teachers were detained and deported without exception. The smallest fine was 1,000 yuan and the largest 24,000 yuan (the penalty fine is determined by how many days you are found to have been working illegally). It is not only a traumatic, but costly affair. In only the first six months of 2014, the CFTU reports that 1,237 expat foreign teachers have already been deported for visa violations. Now take a look at the below chart from 2012 and you will realize in short order that the visa law enforcement and deportation rates have doubled in only two years.
Indeed, deportation stinks, but the smell starts with the bs farts of unethical agents and recruiters who apparently will gloss over visa issues, lie outright, or deftly deceive. So pay attention fellow foreigners. The good old days are gone and despite what the crafty recruiters and and greedy agents may tell you… THERE IS NO LEGAL WAY TO CONVERT ANY OTHER VISA TO A Z VISA ONCE YOU ARRIVE HERE! So why do they keep telling this to all the newbie wanna be China-bound teachers? Here are the reasons…
1) 85% of all the schools in China are not licensed to hire foreign teachers (aside from the public schools and universities) and they therefore are not allowed nor authorized to issue an employment invitation letter that would give you the required “Z” visa.
2) Sponsoring a full-time foreign employee for a Z visa costs money and let’s face it, Chinese are…uh…er, shall we say “frugal”.
3) By getting you to come here to China illegally, they will own you upon arrival and if you threaten to quit for a better-paying job they will threaten to report your illegal status to get you deported!
4) Only about half of Z visa applications are accepted whereas 95% of L visa applications and 87% of F visa applications are accepted.
5) Agents and recruiters are not required to identify your employer until after you arrive as a “tourist’. If they were to identify the employer before you get to China you would have time to check the various blacklists of China schools below and maybe find your employer has a horrible history and reputation of cheating teachers.
So friends, be aware that if you choose to roll the dice and work without a “Z” visa, you have an 80% chance of getting away with it, but conversely, you have a 20% of being caught – and deported. If you do get busted, you also need to know that there is absolutely nothing the CFTU or your embassy can do for you. If some smooth recruiter convinces you to ignore all the warnings, you can get a free copy of China Visa Laws in English to read for yourself by sending an email to ChinaVisaLaws@ChinaForeignTeachersUnion.org
Good luck and safe journey no matter where your teaching career may take you! 🙂