Vice Media on Exploitation of English Teachers in China (Quoting Gary Chodorow)

Disney EnglishVice Media yesterday published a story about English teachers in China without proper visas, The Chinese ESL-Industrial Complex: How English Teachers in China Are Lied to and Exploited. The story quotes me in a couple places.

The story opens with a police raid of Disney English in Chengdu. Disney is said to have hired teachers around the country with employment licenses and work-type residence permits secured in Shanghai. But it’s illegal to work in China beyond the scope of the work specified in the employment license. (“出工作许可限定范围在中国境内工作的”). Exit-Entry Administration Law, art. 43(2). And the license specifies the city where work is authorized.

Disney is a sophisticated corporation with sufficient lobbying power to impact the shape of immigration laws. See Kit Johnson, The Wonderful World of Disney Visas, 63 Fla. L. Rev. 915 (2011) (The U.S. “Q visa … was designed by Disney for its own needs.”). Vice was unable to get Disney’s side of the story about the Chengdu raid. But in the U.S. too Disney has been the target of immigration enforcement. The Immigration and Naturalization Service levied fines of almost $400,000 against the company for not properly screening the immigration status of its workers in the 1990s.

Most of the Chinese schools profiled in the Vice story either lacked the qualifications required to hire foreign teachers or, to save money, used unscrupulous agents to recruit and obtain visas for foreign teachers without the credentials necessary for a Z (work) visa. Foreign workers need to conduct their job search with eyes wide open.

Employers and foreign workers can learn more about Chinese immigration law at FAQ: China’s New Visa Law.


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