China Job Recruiter & Visa Agent Scams – 25 Red Flag Warnings

1. Employees all use Chinglish names like “Peter Gao” or “Susan Liu”. These are fabricated ghost names that are virtually untraceable.

2. Their web site is less than a year old (or they don’t have one at all)

3. Their web site uses a .org or .cn domain.

4. Their web site contains no verifiable street address for their office.

5. Their web site has no land-line telephone number published – only disposable mobile numbers.

6. They demand copies of your passport before you receive a written job offer and sign a contract.

7. They cannot produce a color scan copy of their SAIC Chinese business license which can be verified on line.

8. They insist on meeting you in a coffee shop or your office – never their own.

9. They always fill out your visa application in Chinese so you cannot understand if they are lying or not.

10. They are not members of the BBB or any legitimate Chamber of Commerce. (if they are US-based)

11. They use disposable free emails like gmail, hotmail, sina, 163, qq, 126, yahoo, etc.

12. They claim there is someone else with your same name in the computer system and they need your taxpayer ID (SSN) to clarify for the Chinese visa bureau.

13. They tell you that you don’t need a Z visa right away and to just come to China on an L, F, or M, visa.

14. They offer to sell you a fake diploma and/or TEFL certificate, or FEC

15. They tell you that you have a job before you ever even interviewed with the school or director employer.

16. They never give email confirmations of verbal promises made to you.

17. They rush or pressure you to sign a contract giving a fake deadline that is only a few days away.

18. They ask you for the names and phone numbers of your teaching colleagues as a professional references. (They are later contacted and offered jobs in China)

19. No written job description with the name and school location is provided to you until after your arrive in China.

20. They ask for up-front money or a deposit of any kind.

21. They coach you how to lie when applying for your visa.

22. They tell you that the average wage for expats in China is 5,000-7,000 yuan per month.

23. They tell you that you must use a visa agent because the application process is very complicated and confusing and/or all the forms are in Chinese! (absolutely false).

24. That without a TEFL certificate it is impossible to find a teaching job in China that pays more than 5,000 Yuan per month.

25. That your China employer must hold your passport for a 3-6 month probationary period.

Original by Carol Curious

See also: Scam Alert: Identity Thieves Feed On Resumes Of China Foreign ESL Teachers and 2016-2017 CHINA LIARS LIST


Warning: Aston English Should Be Avoided – Not A Good Employer

Aston is like Disney English – Screwed up management but not technically a scam. They are unethical in that they will tell you that you will work X number of hours per week and then always squeeze an extra five hours out of you. Their last minute schedule changes are famous, and one of the key top managers is a pathological liar. The pay is less than average but people are fooled by the fact they have been around a few years and old video testimonials are used from hen they first started and had some concept of quality and ethics. They do not provide Z visas from their own company unless you absolutely threaten to walk if they don’t. Anyway, my advice is to not put these guys on your short list or they will give you some bad memories but not a release letter nor your last paycheck. I worked there for one year. They have many locations, and I have not met any really happy teachers at any of them in the last 2 years.

Original by Sunshine here. a few tips is the first go to place for anyone who has completed a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course and is seeking work.

Having had some experience using it I have noticed three things:

  1. There are a number of de-activated usernames. If you manage to reactivate an old, likely generic one, you will only get the old features. This will mean that you will not be able to upload your resume and it will make your details look sparse, damaging your employment opportunities. So, be creative with your username so you can get a new, unused, full of features version of
  2. makes some annoying demands about size of uploads: I have heard anecdotally that you should keep your CV (resume) to one page because the second page will not be displayed to potential employers. As this is not enough for most CVs, you should have one specifically for and then another fuller version. They should both be in .pdf format so that they can be opened by all manner of operating systems and their various versions.
  3. has an upload a picture (if your have been creative with your username and got the latest version of the site), but makes strict demands about size, type of file. Use Paint (Windows Desktop App) and crop using pixels rather than percentage to required size, ‘maintain(ing) aspect ratio’. Also give your picture a simple file name as complicated ones with brackets – for example – will throw up an unhelpful ‘use jpg, gif…’ error message which does not explain the problem. But be sure to follow that error message too!