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A Walkthrough of China's New Legislation for Foreign Teachers

Jul 27, 2020

 



Recent legislation draft published on July 21 on the official website of the Ministry of Education has an additional governmental agency overseeing the incoming and employment of foreign teachers.

 

The “Measures for Employment and Management of Foreign Teachers” has been formulated by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs based on in-depth research and extensive data collection via public surveys, in order to perfect the legal systems in place for the management of foreign teachers.

 

Regarding qualifications for work visas for foreign teachers, there has not been much change. Article 2 of the aforementioned legislation gives a definitive guideline detailing the basic requirements for foreign teachers:

 

“The foreigners employed by educational institutions, have acquired the work permit and employment-type residence permit for foreigners and engage in educational and teaching activities in China.”

 

Also, the legislation pertaining to schools has not changed.


“The educational institutions as referred to herein shall mean schools, kindergartens, self-study tutorship organizations and off-campus training institutions of various types at all levels which are established according to law and conduct academic education.”

 

After these initial articles, we find the newest adjustments which the Chinese education departments have added regarding the management of the foreign teachers with public security, immigration, foreign affairs, science and technology.

 

“Article 6 (Management System) The administrative department in charge of education under the State Council is responsible for overall supervision and management of foreign teachers employed by educational institutions; the administrative departments in charge of foreign affairs, science and technology, public security and immigration under the State Council are responsible for management of visa, permission to work in China, entry and residence permit of foreign teachers according to division of duties.”

 

The education departments intend on taking charge of the foreign teacher management work.

 

“The administrative departments of local people’s governments in charge of education are responsible for supervision and management of foreign teachers employed by educational institutions in respective administrative divisions; the department of foreign affairs, administrative department in charge of science and technology, public security organs and other related departments of local people’s governments are responsible for related management of foreign teachers in respective administrative divisions according to division of duties. ”

 

There have been no adjustments regarding the qualifications of foreign teachers, but the newest details pertain to Chinese mandarin proficiency when the subjects are required to be taught in Chinese.

 

“Article 8 (Qualification Conditions) Foreign teachers should possess the education qualifications and teaching skills required to conduct educational activities. Among them, those who serve as specialized teachers in disciplines of schools of various types at all levels (including foreign language and literature specialties) should possess bachelor’s degree or above and more than 2 years of educational and teaching experience in related disciplines of related educational institutions or of work experience in related fields; those who serve as foreign language training teachers should possess bachelor’s degree or above and have received corresponding training on language teaching, acquired the corresponding language training qualifications and generally engage in teaching of native languages of native countries; where related courses are taught in Chinese, their mandarin proficiency level shall meet class 3 grade B or above in the Mandarin Proficiency Test Grade Standards or they shall have passed the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) and obtained the corresponding grade certificates. “

 

It’s clearly stated that foreign teachers must verify their 2 years of educational work experience, or this verification can be substituted by a higher doctoral degree, an education bachelor degree, or a teaching license:


“Foreigners who have obtained the doctoral degree or the teacher qualification certificate of country of nationality or have bachelor’s degree or above in teacher education may be exempted from the corresponding educational work experience requirements.”

 

The new legislation regarding the work permits states: foreign teachers are required to register with the government’s education department and documents must be submitted to the science and technology department.

 

“Article 10 (Related Permits) Foreigners who work as foreign teachers should secure the work permit for foreigners in China, Z visas and employment-type residence permit and may not conduct any teaching activities until and unless after obtaining the approval and completing the foreign teacher filing according to applicable provisions.”

 

Here are the details regarding the registration with the department of education.

 

“Article 15 (Teacher Filing) Educational institutions should upload the first page of contract text, the page indicating term of employment, the signature pages of both parties, work permit for foreign teachers in China, residence permit and other materials in copy or electronic version to the national comprehensive information service platform for foreign teachers within five working days of receipt of work permit in China and residence permit by foreign teachers, whereupon the service platform will generate foreign teacher filing numbers.”

 

When you change employers, you have to register with the department of education also. If a school employs a foreigner with a permanent resident visa, they have to register, too.

 

“Article 16 (Domestic Application) Any educational institution intending to employ foreigners legally residing in China as foreign teachers should secure the work permit in China and employment-type residence permit according to these measures and conduct the foreign teacher filing according to applicable provisions. Any educational institution intending to employ foreigners qualified to reside in China permanently as foreign teachers shall conduct foreign teacher filing according to applicable provisions.”

 

“Article 17 (Duties of institutions) Educational institutions should perfect their employment, management, service and appraisal systems for foreign teachers, regulate the teaching behavior of foreign teachers, safeguard the lawful rights and interests of foreign teachers and properly keep the employment files of foreign teachers.”

 

We’ve found some new terms regarding contracts, the methods of appraisal are clearly stated, dispute resolution and liabilities for default have been included. Teachers now know the terms of evaluation and know where to solve contractual disputes.

 

“Article 18 (Contract Management) Educational institutions should execute written contract with foreign teachers. The contents of contract should include but not limited to the job assignments, workplace, job responsibilities and term of employment of foreign teachers, rights and obligations of both parties, appraisal methods, dispute resolution mechanism and liabilities for default.”

 

The most challenging portion pertains to the public release of information, it may be controversial how much information can and should be exposed.

 

“Article 19 (Information Publicity) Educational institutions should publicize the basic information about foreign teachers employed such as name and nationality and such information as job, filing number and work permit on their bulletin boards and websites, except as otherwise prescribed by the state.”

 

This item discusses training. We all agree that the training is very helpful, especially for the new teachers. Via training, the teachers know what they can do and what they cannot do, to avoid any of the future problems due to unknown knowledge (including the cultural difference).

 

“Article 20 (Job training) Educational institutions should formulate the pre-job and post-job training plans for foreign teachers based on the cultural backgrounds and job characteristics of foreign teachers, and should conduct job training of no less than 20 class hours for foreign teachers employed for the first time either by themselves or through suitably qualified specialized educational institutions, covering the Constitution, laws, national conditions, teacher’s ethics and education guidelines and policies of China and professional knowledge and teaching capabilities, etc.”

 

“Article 21 (Organizational Management) Educational institutions should strengthen the service to and management of foreign teachers according to laws and contractual provisions in order to ensure the quality of education and teaching.”

 

This item is about the workload of foreign teachers, though it is not very specific, but we can see that all teaching work cannot be conducted in a concentrated period.

 

“Neither educational institutions nor foreign teachers may conduct short-term intensive teaching in any obviously unreasonable manner such as z dense arrangement of courses.”

 

Here is the most sensitive and particularly part of this legislation. It discusses part time jobs and having multiple employers. It clearly says you can do a part time job and have a second employer, but you have to ask permission from your current employer and sign a three parties’ contract, and also register to the governments.

 

"Article 22 (Part-time job management) During the same term of employment, a foreign teacher may only execute a contract with one educational institution and obtain one filing number. "


“Subject to the prior consent of their employing institutions, foreign teachers may reasonably work part time for other educational institutions. Where a foreign teacher works part time, the employing institution, foreign teacher and the educational institution in question should execute tripartite agreement, setting forth each party’s rights and obligations. The employing institution may not charge the educational institution in question any fees. The part-time employment contract should be filed with the education department in charge, which should then notify the entry-exit administration of public security organ of the list for filing. The accumulated part-time teaching hours of a foreign teacher may not exceed the teaching hours he or she works for the employing institution.”

 

Regarding the obligations of the schools, it states the importance of protecting students, especially young kids.

 

“Article 23 (Appraisal supervision) Educational institutions should perfect their appraisal systems, strengthen the regulation and supervision of professional ethics and teaching style of foreign teachers and fully appraise the job performance of foreign teachers.”

 

“Where foreign teachers teach minors, the employing institution should perform its statutory duty to protect the minors and take appropriate measures to safeguard the personal safety and physical and mental health of minors.”

 

Also the legislation mentions the reward and support the schools should provide to the teachers.

 

“Article 24 (Encouraging Measures) Educational institutions should safeguard and support foreign teachers to conduct teaching research, academic exchange and other activities and participate in democratic management in an appropriate manner.”

 

“Educational institutions should commend and reward foreign teachers who made outstanding achievements in education, teaching, talent cultivation and promoting China-foreign exchanges and may recommend them to competent departments for commendations and rewards from the government and related departments.” 

 

If one wishes to change employers, they are required to re-register with the department of education and with the department of foreign expert affairs.

 

“Article 25 (Employment Change) Where foreign teachers become employed by other educational institutions, the educational institutions should reapply for work permit for foreigners in China and employment-type residence permit and handle the related formalities according to law, while at the same time reapplying for and securing the foreign teacher filling numbers according to these measures.”

 

It also mentions the sharing of information regarding foreign teachers, it allows all of the related government sectors to check the teacher’s information.  Since all the foreign teachers’ documents have been provided to the science and technology department when applying for the work permit, the residence permit is issued by the immigration department, it will be easy for the education department to share this information with the other two instead of asking the foreign teachers to repeat a submission.


“Article 26 (Platform Construction) The administrative department in charge of education under the State Council establishes and manages the national comprehensive information service platform for foreign teachers and establishes the specific norms for foreign teacher filing.”


“The administrative department in charge of education and educational institutions may register themselves with the national comprehensive information service platform for foreign teachers, and log into the platform for filing and querying related information.”

 

“Article 27 (Information Sharing) The information sharing mechanism for foreign teachers should be established. The administrative department in charge of science and technology under the State Council should push the information about foreign teachers who have been issued the work permit for foreigners in China to the administrative department in charge of education under the State Council in real time, which should push the list of barred foreign teachers to the administrative department in charge of science and technology under the State Council in real time.”

 

Here we see more details regarding management on the foreign teacher side, but not the school side. As we know many schools break contracts, don’t pay the teachers on time, change the items, etc.  So, the management should oversee both sides of the employment contracts. Any of your recommendations on how the schools can be better managed in order to protect the foreign teachers and avoid contractual disputes are welcomed and appreciated.

 

“Article 28 (Daily Supervision and Management) The administrative department in charge of education, administrative department in charge of science and technology, entry-exit administration of public security organs and other related departments of local people’s governments should strengthen daily supervision and management of the employment of foreign teachers by educational institutions, and identify, investigate and deal with any employment of foreign teachers in violation of the applicable laws and regulations in a timely manner.”

 

“The administrative department in charge of education and educational supervision bodies, when finding any educational institution employ foreigners for education and teaching in daily supervision and management or through complaints, whistle-blowing or otherwise, should examine it for whether it has the work permit for foreign in China, employment-type residence permit and foreign teacher filing number, and should timely report to the related competent departments if any violation of law is found.”

 

The integrity record is a new measure taken by the governmental agencies overseeing foreign teachers. Again, it should be for both the foreign teachers and the schools.

 

“Article 29 (Integrity Records) The credit recording system for foreign teachers shall be established. Where foreign teachers comply with Chinese laws and contractual provisions and demonstrate high quality of education and teaching and good professional ethics and teaching style during term of employment, educational institutions should reflect the same in appraisal and report to the administrative department in charge of education for inclusion in the national comprehensive information service platform for foreign teachers.”

 

“For foreign teachers who have been commended by the government and related departments and have good credit records, the administrative department in charge of science and technology and entry-exit administration of public security organs should provide facilities in granting permits and handling related formalities, etc.”

 

“Article 30 (Bad Faith Records) Where any foreign teacher violates the contractual provisions and falls into any of the following categories, the educational institution should report to the administrative department in charge of education after dealing with the violations. The administrative department in charge of education will include the violations in the credit records after verification:

 

(1) Engages in any serious academic misconduct;

(2) Engages in any fee-based work outside the employing educational institution in violation of regulations;

(3) Being terminated for violation of the rules and regulations of the employing institution;

(4) Leaves his or her office before expiration of term of employment without authorization.”

 

“Article 31 (Barring)Where a foreign teacher falls into any of the following categories, the employing educational institution should terminate his or her employment and report to the administrative department in charge of education for inclusion in the credit records:

 

(1) Conducts any speech or act that jeopardizes the national sovereignty, security, honor and social and public interests of China;

(2) Being prosecuted for criminal liabilities;

(3) Hinders the implementation of education policy;

(4) Engages in drug abuse or any other activities in violation of public security administration regulations;

(5) Conducts any act of sexually assaulting or abusing minors;

(6) Illegally engages in religious education or preach religions;

(7) Engages in cult activities;

(8) Sexually harasses students or otherwise seriously violates the public order and good morals of China and teacher’s professional ethics or code of conduct;

(9) Provides false proving information while applying for teaching in China;

(10) The accumulated entries of bad faith records specified in Article 30 hereof exceed 3.

Educational institutions may not employ any foreigner that falls into any of the aforesaid categories as a foreign teacher.”

 

“Article 32 (Illegal employment) Educational institutions and other social organizations which illegally employ unlicensed and unfiled foreigners as teachers or organize and employ foreigners to illegally engage in educational and teaching activities will be punished by the public security organs of local people’s government at the county level or above and their entry-exit administration according to law. They will be prosecuted for criminal liabilities according to law if their behaviors constitute crimes.”

 

“Article 33 (Falsification by Institutions) Where documents and supporting materials are falsified or forged while applying for work permit or residence permit for foreign teachers to work in China, the public security organs of local people’s government at the county level or above and their entry-exit administration will impose punishments according to law.”

 

“Article 34 (Management Responsibility)Where any educational institution violates these measures and falls into any of the following categories, the administrate department in charge of education at the county level or above should order it to make corrections and may impose a fine of more than 1,000 Yuan per person-time and less than 10,000 Yuan per person-time and give warnings or sanctions against the person chiefly in charge of the educational institution; where the circumstances are severe, it may order the educational institution to cease to recruit students according to law, and the administrative department in charge of science and technology will not accept its application for work permit for foreigners in China within 1 to 3 years; where the circumstances are particularly severe, the administrate department in charge of education will revoke its school running permit according to law: 

 

(1) Employs any foreigner without foreign teacher filing number as a teacher or fails to make filing by the time limit;

(2) Fails to take corrective measures in time after the foreign teacher employed is found to fall into any of the categories described in Article 30 or Article 31 hereof;

(3) Arranges foreign teachers to engage in illegal profit-making activities or conduct obviously unreasonable itinerary short-term intensive teaching activities;

(4) Neglects to manage foreign teachers in a way that causes serious adverse social impact;

(5) Fails to investigate and deal with any violation of laws and regulations by foreign teachers in a timely manner upon being complained about by students’ parents;

(6) Falsely publicizes the curriculum vitas and capabilities of foreign teachers and consequently misleads the general public;

(7) Violates the applicable provisions regarding part-time work of foreign teachers.”

 

This portion explains clearly the legislation surrounding short-term academic visits, which call for an F visa, and not the other visas such as tourist visas.

 

“Article 36 (Supplementary Provisions) Colleges and universities which engage foreign experts for academic exchange and short-term academic visit should apply for F visas or visa of corresponding type according to applicable provisions. Colleges and universities should manage the educational and teaching activities conducted by foreign experts by reference to these measures.” 

 

Foreign schools and the online teaching are referred to in this legislation also.

 

“Employment of foreign teachers by schools for children of foreigners should be dealt with by reference to these measures.”

“Where online training institutions employ foreigners to undertake educational and teaching activities abroad in an online manner, qualification conditions should be formulated, contracts executed, and service and management performed by reference to these measures.”

 

This legislation will influence the future for foreign teachers in China.

 

“These measures shall prevail in case of any inconsistency between the provisions issued by the administrative department in charge of education and administrative department in charge of science and technology under the State Council and the former State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs regarding employment of foreign teachers and these measures.”

 

“Individuals who have worked as foreign teachers in China prior to the effective date of these measures should perform the filing formalities according to Article 19 hereof within 6 months of the effective date hereof.” 

 

Above all, these measures are a draft open to comments and input until August 21, 2020 and will likely be adjusted before being put into practice.


If you have any comments regarding these policies, please let us know (edu@foreignhr.com)! We will classify your comments, suggestions, advice and send them to the education department. We believe your feedback is highly valued by the government, and they will heed the advice of the foreign teachers of the future! Any contributions will benefit you, the schools you serve, and China’s education system.


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