Since the borders were reopened to foreigners with ordinary visas (including travel) on 8 January, applications from overseas have increased dramatically. This has resulted in the relevant authorities scrutinizing the rules for permits and the corresponding visas to make sure all foreigners applications follow the legal requirements.

Shanghai and the other tier one cities are now being very strict in their interpretation of those rules. Currently, non-native English speakers are not permitted to be English teachers. Applications for non-natives by any education organization in the positions of sales, marketing, curriculum development, IT etc. are now also being refused, as the authorities realize that these stated positions were in name only. Whilst some schools do offer positions of science, history, or other named subjects teaching, the applicant can only be accepted for a work permit if their degree major and experience is in the field of the named position. Therefore a degree in advanced mathematics would not be acceptable for a non-native kindergarten teacher, for example. This is how Shanghai and other tier one cities are interpreting the rules; very strictly. Other smaller cities may not be so strict, but Panda currently have no way of knowing this.

Many overseas applicants seem to be expecting schools to pay for their travel to China. Whilst this is possible, usually it has been international schools, and large training organisations who have done this. For the last three years, the whole of the education industry has suffered due to the pandemic, and education or training centres have been mostly wiped out. Most schools are far less cash rich than before the pandemic, and many have closed, so whilst some schools may say they will pay for flights etc., the chances are their outlay may be recouped from teachers salaries. Furthermore, initial application for a work permit and the subsequent z visa may not be completed once the teacher has arrived, and the school realise that the teacher is not what they had hoped for. Experience has shown us that the best way for foreigners to pick a reputable school is to be in China already, often travelling, where they can visit the school and talk to some teachers about how the school is run, visas, salaries etc.

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