Beijing to introduce visa-free status for English teachers
The Beijing government will introduce a pilot program this month eliminating the need for 10,000 foreign-born English teachers to obtain work visas. The program aims to improve the quality of English education in Beijing by attracting top international English teaching talent and increasing Beijing residents’ access to English language training.
Known as the Ten Thousand Talents English Education Program, the program will see public and private schools taught English, including kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, universities and colleges. private training, freed from the responsibility of obtaining work visas for their foreign English teachers. Instead, schools will be able to register their foreign teachers with the municipal education bureau, which in turn will issue work permits directly instead of the labor bureau. The new registration process will eliminate the current requirement for an advanced degree, the need to prove two years of relevant overseas experience and the need to provide a criminal record check, as well as eliminating the need for English schools to register their teachers through agents.
Hao Gaoxiao, deputy director of the Beijing Association for Foreign Language Education and Training, told Xinhua yesterday that the program aims to reduce the disconnect between top English teachers and local residents in Beijing. “We understand the difficulty many schools have in legally employing their English teachers under the current system,” Hao said. “We hope that simplifying this process will encourage more English teachers to work in Beijing, allowing English schools to better meet the local demand for foreign teachers.”
The English schools contacted by the pekingese were unanimous in their support for the new pilot program. Salty Xu, owner of Miss Fluffy Kindergarten in Chaoyang District, said the pekingese the impacts of the government’s strict visa requirements on his business have been enormous. “Every time my cousin from the police calls me saying he’s about to do a surprise inspection of my school, I have to ask my foreign teachers to go hide in the stairwell. Obviously, this not only negatively impacts the experience of our students, but also makes parents feel like they are not getting what they paid for. I hope the new program will extend beyond 2017.”
Likewise, the teachers we spoke to were excited about the opportunity to work without a visa. Whitney White, a six-year veteran of Beijing English Training Centers from Paris, Texas, said she was looking forward to becoming a teacher under the new system. “I’m so sick of kimchi and fried chicken. I’ve been to Seoul so many times now that I can barely bring myself to get on the plane every month. This new schedule means that I will finally be able to spend all my weekends in Beijing instead of leaving the country during my free time.
However, according to some English teachers, the pilot program comes too late. Alex Shutnikov, a 22-year-old English teacher from the eastern Russian city of Krasnoyarsk, said the pekingese he had completed the process to become legally employed only two weeks ago. “It was a lot of mafan to get my degree. It’s disheartening to know that I could have saved time and money by just waiting a few weeks,” Alex told us. “It wasn’t a complete mess though. Even though I won’t need my degree anymore, I’m pretty sure my school will still tell parents that I have a doctorate from Oxford.
English teachers interested in applying to participate in the program must prepare the original copy of the contract with their school, 11 color photocopies of their passport, 20 passport photos of 231 mm x 466 mm format on an ivory or eggshell background , a recent glamorous photo clearly showing the two hair and eye color, and digital samples of their teacher voice and singing voice. Applications should be delivered to your school’s Human Resources representative after his nap but before the end of today, April 1.
Photo: Go Abroad