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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Avoiding China Employment Traps - A Cheater's Paradise


What you do for a living in China can in most cases, be traced directly to your level of naivety or gullibility.  Just ask any English teacher in China who has been working here more than a year.  At one point or another we all were lured by the many falsehoods, deceptions, empty promises, the initial friendliness, and the Z visa bait.

Likewise, most of us learned the hard way to believe only half of what we are told by any employer, and perhaps 80% of what is in a contract.  This article posted at E-ChinaCities a few weeks ago is worth reading for sure. Below we have posted our our own tricks and traps to watch out for as well.


1.  Do not agree to take any job based on verbal promises as your employer will surely say you "misunderstood" them only three months later when you have your first surprise about your Z visa, probationary period, or something else that turned out to be a lie.  You must insist on a written contract and even then, you must make sure the signatures are genuine and you sign only a contract in English that you fully understand.

2.  Never surrender your passport to an employer or even worse, an agent.  In fact you should avoid using agents altogether for reasons found in this post:

http://cleverchinacheaters.blogspot.com/2012/09/10-reasons-why-you-should-never-use.html

3.  Ask your employer for a copy of their license to operate in China. There is a 40% chance that they do not have one. Getting registered and licensed in China means they must pay taxes and follow rules, two things that are not popular with small private companies in China. If they cannot produce a copy of their license - walk. And if they do give you a copy contact MoC of MoFA to make sure it is legitimate. There are no shortage of forged documents in China.

4.  Meet up with another foreigner working there outside the office for coffee or a beer,  or at the very least get their phone number and give them a call. They will be more honest with you about working conditions and company integrity than the employer. If you learn of a turnover rate that is more than 15% per year, keep looking.

5. Working hours are a common way to get trapped into a bad job situation. If you accept a salary instead of an hourly wage in China, your hours will grow and grow in excess of 60 hours per week until you absolute scream "ENOUGH!" And once you agree to come in to work on your day off, it will become a regular and frequent affair. Stick to your contractual agreement of specific hours and work days like glue or you will be exploited for sure.

6.  If a visa is part of your package, get it taken care of before you come to China and before you start working. Otherwise it will be something the employer continuosly avoids because it is a $500 expense for them.  And if you wait until the week before your current visa expires to complain, well you will inevitably be told one of two things... 1) Maybe it is best you go work somewhere else, or 2) They remind you that you are working illegally without a work permit. Either way you will be screwed.

7. Watch out for employers who want to pay you with a one month delay or require you to put one month's pay as a "deposit".  This is almost always a ruse to avoid paying you your last's months wages.

8. At the risk of sounding racist, try finding work with an International company that usually will require less work hours and have less "misunderstandings" (i.e. they cheat less). If you want to work for a Chinese company, look for one that has been in business at least 3-5 years - not a start-up nor one that uses more than one name.

9. Ask for a written job description and make it part of your contract or you may find yourself driving the boss's wife to the shopping mall, or "helping out" in the warehouse for a week or two.  In China, employers milk their employees for every hour they can. Thankfully they abuse foreigners a little less than Chinese who are often treated just slightly better than slaves at small private companies.

10.  Some of the best jobs in China are found working for NGOs, MNCs, government embassies, and Chinese State Owned Enterprises. No cheating and no exploitation with these employers if you can get your foot in the door. 

And just to be extra safe, you should get a free copy of the China Black List by sending an email to a volunteer group of teachers that monitors complaints of foreign employees in China at TheChinaBlackList@gmail.com



HR, Headhunter, and Agent Scams...

One of the biggest HR frauds in the world is taking place in China since 2008.  Head hunting firms (virtually all of them) have resorted to advertising great jobs with great pay at executive levels with low requirements with large multi-national companies. The problem is that these wonderful jobs they are advertising do not exist!  They are called "CV Magnets" in the trade and their purpose is to accumulate a large employee pool of resumes.

Now when you get their call for an interview you will be excited thinking that you are being called in to be considered for the great position you applied for. However, once you arrive and exchange greetings you will get the "good and bad news". The bad news is that the position you applied for (you know that $60,000 management job, or $40,000 teaching job) "was just filled three days ago." But the good news is that they just happen to have another job that pays $10,000 less with a no-name company and then they will sell you with all the benefits, Z visa sonsorship, paid vactaion, etc. 

Their plan worked. They got you into their office where they pitch you on a job you never would have applied for. Then they will smooze you into to taking the less attractive job "temporarily" until they can get you into that great MNC. To be truthful however, they will never lift another finger to do anything for you after they collect their fee.  

The worst part is that if you turn down the crappy job they offer you, they will then sell your resume to a dozen agents for 500 yuan each and now you will be getting dozens of call for jobs you never applied for and you may even see your resume posted on the internet where your current boss can see it too!   Please see this link and you will see who one of the biggest Beijing offenders is:  http://answers.echinacities.com/question/head-hunter-fraud-michael-page-legit-or-are-we-all-cv-magnets?type=alatest#lastcomment

GOOD  LUCK  AND  BEWARE!

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5 comments:

  1. This is great advice that I wish I had when I came to China two years ago. I was swindled out of over 5,000 yuan by Sesame English for private turoring I did. If I would have seen this, I'm sure I never would have worked for them in the first place. All of the right red flags listed here are ones I never even thought of two years ago. Live and learn I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There are so many shady employers in China. Especially ones who exploit the demand for education wether it is Enlish training or technical training many of these companies have no licenses and they always claim to have backing or affiliation with other well known organizations or testing centers. Some companies also advertise jobs in remote areas of China and recruit foreigners who because of the remote locations would not ordinarily go there, however they advertise positions that have nothing to do with education (for exaple: logistics specialist, architectural design consultant, international trade consultant etc...) Then upon arrivale the applicant is introduced to a totally different position with less pay. Since people who relocate are expecting work they sometimes take the lower position and are held hostage in a strange place by strange people. I had a friend "Racelle" who was tricked in this way. She was actually intimidated by a local mob boss in Changchun when she told them she no longer wanted to work with them and confronted them after she caught on to their trickery. She was lucky because she was able to get help from a friend she met at a coffee shop who picked her up at 3am and brought her to the airport. Some people simply have no integrity and they will do anything to make a buck no matter who they have to take advantage of.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Before you even accept an interview, jump on to Google and do your homework about the company. Ask them directly who owns the company and how long have they been in business. When you go to the school, ask to see their license. If you get past these first three steps, talk to a foreigner there and ask how many teachers have worked there more than one year. If less than five, I suggest you keep looking. The higher the turnover rate, the worse the school. And of course, check the black list!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beware SHANE English Jinhui (Shanghai)

    (they have begun flagging these messages as well to avoid actually dealing with their problems. These problems include stealing from teachers, falsifying government and educational documents, threatening teachers who quit with violence, and forging signatures on contracts and government forms. All of these things happened to me.)

    Shane English in Shanghai likes to pretend they run a tight ship. Everything seems above board at first, but soon you can see that everything is a lie. From forcing you to change resumes, to forging your signature on legal documents. Illegal cancellation of permits are everyday occurrences here at Shane English. Do not believe the recruiters lies! They will steal from you. They will threaten you. They will try to get you expelled from the country. But when you meet them they will act like your best friends.

    An annual turnover rate of nearly 100% lets you know the whole story. No one stays with them longer than they have to.
    They are not recruiters, but some recruiters may direct you to them for a commission. Recruiters are just out to make a buck, but if you let them know that Shane is not acceptable, they will direct you to another company.

    Since I started posting these warnings other people have told me about being ripped off for much more than me. They owe me 13,000 still, but it is nothing compared to others.

    Be wary, take care, and happy hunting for a legitimate job in China.

    Since they want to "call me out" it is only fair that I offer the recordings I made to any interested party. It shows that my actual reason for leaving is the fact that they had forged my signature on numerous documents. I only agreed to work 30 more days, because they agreed to a provisional contract, but then backslid on that. the agreement to "stop harassing" was signed because they held on to my expert certificate for 3 months. Recording phone calls is not illegal, unless done via interception. I really hope they bring a lawsuit, so I can talk about how they sell fake Tesol certificates, degrees, and visas.

    ReplyDelete
  5. from Craigslist Shanghai
    Beware SHANE English Jinhui (Shanghai)
    Problems include stealing from teachers, falsifying government and educational documents, threatening teachers who quit with violence, and forging signatures on contracts and government forms. All of these things happened to me.)

    Shane English in Shanghai likes to pretend they run a tight ship. Everything seems above board at first, but soon you can see that everything is a lie. From forcing you to change resumes, to forging your signature on legal documents. Illegal cancellation of permits are everyday occurrences here at Shane English. Do not believe the recruiters lies! They will steal from you. They will threaten you. They will try to get you expelled from the country. But when you meet them they will act like your best friends.

    An annual turnover rate of nearly 100% lets you know the whole story. No one stays with them longer than they have to.
    They are not recruiters, but some recruiters may direct you to them for a commission. Recruiters are just out to make a buck, but if you let them know that Shane is not acceptable, they will direct you to another company.

    Since I started posting these warnings other people have told me about being ripped off for much more than me. They owe me 13,000 still, but it is nothing compared to others.

    Be wary, take care, and happy hunting for a legitimate job in China.

    Since they want to "call me out" it is only fair that I offer the recordings I made to any interested party. It shows that my actual reason for leaving is the fact that they had forged my signature on numerous documents. I only agreed to work 30 more days, because they agreed to a provisional contract, but then backslid on that. the agreement to "stop harassing" was signed because they held on to my expert certificate for 3 months. Recording phone calls is not illegal, unless done via interception. I really hope they bring a lawsuit, so I can talk about how they sell fake Tesol certificates, degrees, and visas.

    ReplyDelete