Like a scene out of an old Miami Vice TV episode, China's undercover PSB officers (Public Security Bureau) are scooping up and arresting an average of 180 foreign expat English teachers every week across China in Beijing, Shanghai, Chonqing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Qingdao, Nanjing, Xian, and six other Tier 1 cities in a clever sting operation. They are hunting down foreigners working in China illegally without a real and legal Z visa which is the required work visa mandated by Chinese law.
These police stings utilize really enticing job ads offering plum teaching jobs that pay between 18,000 - 25,000 rmb per month and some even offer free housing or "weekends off". For the expat teachers in China who average 15,000 a month salaries and a 6 day work week, these ads are hard to resist. Most of the ads are found in the beijinger, echinacities, cn.expat, Sinocities, ESLCafe, Craiglist, Gumtree, and ChinaTEFLNetwork.com. Those that take the bait, can expect an interview like this one here: http://www.tefl.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=7434
Last year in China, 2,987 foreigners were arrested and deported from China which is approximately 10% of the 30,000 foreign teachers SAFEA claims now work in China. SAFEA is an agency of the Chinese government that regulates and approves legitimate schools and licensed HR companies to hire foreigners who have the following qualifications:
(1) A verifiable bachelor degree from an accredited university.
(2) A valid passport with a Z visa inside upon landing in China.
(3) 2 years verifiable teaching experience.
(4) Job applicants must be 22-50 years of age.
(5) A police certificate proving no criminal record.
Because ESL & TEFL teachers get paid far better salaries in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Dubai, etc. China is now suffering a huge shortage of qualified teachers. Thus, shady job recruiters have resorted to selling fake diplomas and bring newbie teachers into China with the wrong visas, exposing them to a 50% chance of detection - and arrest.
Up until 2014, illegal teachers were let off with a warning and a $1,000 fine. But in 2014 the Chinese government started their "Zero Tolerance" policy. The "goodwill warnings" are now ancient history. Today in 2017, those caught will certainly be arrested, jailed for 30 days, fined $2,000 and then deported with a felony conviction that will follow them for a lifetime, and make it difficult, if not impossible to get even a vacation holiday visa in the future. China will also give them a 3-5 year reentry ban. This is harsh punishment especially considering that half of those being arrested only followed the instruction of their China recruiter or job agent! This is what most China job recruiters will not tell their customers: http://antifraudintl.org/threads/china-internship-visa-scams.96692/
A listing of the blacklisted agencies, recruiters, and training centers not approved by SAFEA and putting expat teachers in jeopardy can be found at these links below. China job applicants are urged to check them before buying a plane ticket to China:
Those who follow the Chinese visa law have nothing to worry about. If you have any doubts about what you are told by third parties who profit from your travels abroad, you should visit http://SAFEA.gov.cn, and http://chinascampatrol.wordpress.com, or the Chinese consulate in your own country.