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HELP ASAP PLEASE! Trailing Partner to Shanghai

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by megan62, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. megan62

    megan62 New commenter

    I know there have been a lot of previous threads to discuss life as a trailing spouse, but I could really do with some quick advice so I am reaching out to the TES community in the hopes that somebody can help!

    My partner has just accepted a contract with a school in Shanghai. They have offered him a great package and we are both excited to experience a new country, culture, (hopefully) better quality of life, and to spend more time together. He is a primary teacher and I am an English Literature graduate, with experience as a teaching assistant and a TEFL qualification. I don't have a job as of yet and I'm just wondering what other people have done and what my best option would be.

    Would I be best off going out on a tourist visa and trying to arrange a local contract in Shanghai, be it with a language school or as a TA? Or would it be a good idea to find a TEFL job and arrange my own benefits package? Ultimately we are aiming to live together, as we do now, and to explore China at weekends. Have others had trouble finding TEFL jobs that allow you to keep weekends free?

    Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! It's all a bit new to us as it's our first overseas experience, so it would be great to hear from people who have done it before.

    Thanks!
     
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Get married asap. Then you can come to China and stay as long as your-husband-to-be. The Chinese authorities will not give you a longer visa if you are just a "partner", boyfriend, girlfriend, casual acquaintance etc. Mrs. Hippo has been busy recently, as her modelling career has taken off. The only bad thing was that last week they wanted her in Shanghai! So maybe you could get some modelling work too.
     
    Helen-Back likes this.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    You can't change from tourist to work visa without leaving the country (not legally, although if offered a job the school may 'know' people and be able to pull strings, but that's perhaps doubtful in Shanghai).

    You could get a TEFL job in a local school or college, in order to keep weekends free. Poor pay and benefits in comparison with your partner though.
     
  4. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    If you TEFL is the Cambridge CELTA you will have no problems finding a job in Shanghai even if it is Mickey Mouse you end up working with.

    The visa regulations have been enforced this year so only CELTA is accepted for a work and residency visa.

    If you can not figure out the company from my clue PM for details.
     
  5. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    First of all. You will have a job after you arrive. Orientation. It pays nothing but is invaluable. You can suss out all the great places to find the stuff you both enjoy. It's a big city, it'll take months. Get a bike. Or just live downtown and walk a lot all over the city. There are second hand bookshops, excellent fast food places, the wet market that has all your favourites just waiting out there to be discovered.
     
    megan62 likes this.
  6. artisticteacher1

    artisticteacher1 New commenter

    I was looking at getting a Z visa in Hong kong for china but I have secured a position elsewhere now. Seeing as y ou're in the UK, you're best to get a job offer and visa from the UK first. It's illegal to work on a tourist visa. If you're not in the UK, you can get your Z visa in lots of countries but it depends which province in china it is. Some provinces allow this others don't. It saves having to go all the way home to the UK if you are already in Asia.

    I doubt that the CELTA is the only recognised TEFL since there are many similar TEFL certs, Mine is the CELTA from Cambridge English so I am ok but even if you don't have a CELTA, you could just say you had one as who is going to check the records with Cambridge English?
     
  7. zrcadlo

    zrcadlo New commenter

    Hi there,

    like grdwdgrrrl says there'll be plenty to occupy your time so it would be quite nice if you didn't have to have a job!

    However. I was in this exact situation 2 years ago - I was offered a job, my (then) boyfriend was not. We were first told at the job-offer stage that 'a partner can get a visa and residence permit' , which I was pretty sure was not true, and indeed it was not. So, to cut a long story short, we got married. But it was too late for a Spouse (S1) visa by then (we got married in May and were going in August, but the paperwork had already been started by the school in February or so) so he came on a Tourist visa and then - because we were married - was able to convert it into a non-working Residence Permit after arrival. I don't think you can convert from a tourist visa, to a residence permit, without either being employed or being married.

    Regarding finding work, If you want to get a job, I think I would start looking now if i were in your position. If you can find a job with someone who'll arrange your visa, then you can go over on your own work (Z) visa and not have to worry about anything - you'll definitely be able to convert a Z visa into a residence permit with your employer's help.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    I'm interested to see how this thread turns out - I wonder how a school would perceive a 'shotgun marriage' (not trying to remove any romance, sorry)? or one post-starting a job?
    Me and my partner are in a similar position: thinking about how we could achieve the best case scenario.
    Some interesting catalysts for further research have already been posted. Thanks prior commenters.
     
  9. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    A school should not care (at least we did not). They would prefer you to be married because that simplifies matters. You might find that the prospect of living and working abroad together accelerates the decision making in that respect.
     
  10. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Whether or not your school thinks that you are just getting married at short notice for visa purposes might depend on what you do or do not tell them.

    Last week two Chinese policemen turned up at our apartment, unannounced. It was not a pleasant experience, even though Mrs H. and both have the blueish Z visas in our passports. As I understand it, the Chinese authorities will not hesitate to deport you if they think that you are working on a tourist or business visa. Here in Shenzhen, the cops are in the habit of stopping foreigners in the MTR and on the street and then checking your passport. If you get deported, you can forget about ever coming back to China. My impression (for what it is worth) is that the Chinese authorities are getting more strict about this, so my advice would be to get a proper Z visa from your school or forget about it.
     
  11. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    i have worked with people that have done this, and honestly i could not see any real value to it. ok, you might get a slightly bigger apartment, or a slightly larger flight allowance. but the old romantic in me thinks you should get married because you love each other.

    as others have noted, in some countries it might be a visa requirement, but this is by far not the norm around the world, and there are plenty of countries that wont care.
     
    Sadles01 likes this.
  12. megan62

    megan62 New commenter

    I'm with you on the company ;) That's interesting. Unfortunately my TEFL is a straight-out-of-university-and-don't-know-what-to-do-quick-i'll-get-a-TEFL certificate, which I understand from previous threads is not the most desirable. But completely unrecognised for a work visa? That's a surprise! Would you mind giving me a bit more info on that, or pointing me in the direction of more info?
     
  13. megan62

    megan62 New commenter

    And what if they ask for a certificate artisticteacher1?! Call me a goody-goody but I don't feel like lying to the Chinese authorities just for a visa :p
     
  14. megan62

    megan62 New commenter

    Thanks Zrcadlo! What did your school say when you told them you had married? Had you already mentioned an unmarried partner?
     
  15. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    It does in some cases/places make things easier in terms of visas and that can't be overlooked. My partner and I got our first jobs together as an unmarried couple and it was fine because we both had jobs. If I hadn't got one I'd have had to do the three month visa run and couldn't have done any work for fear of being deported. I'd have been bored stiff. But because we weren't married we only got a single persons housing allowance and no flights or medical for me (because I was hired as a TA not a teacher). Missing out on the married benefits does start to add up after a while and did factor into our decision to get married. As posters in here frequently say, saving and pensions when you're working overseas are vital, and every penny of the extra money we get is going directly to that.

    Everyone is different and each couple needs to make he decision for themselves whether marriage is right or not. If you're both practical minded and are happy to do it to make life for now easier, then what's the harm. Just go into it with your eyes open.
     
  16. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    megan62 you can check out http://www.eslcafe.com/ for details of teaching TELF in Shanghai. One of the good things for you is you don't need a teaching qualification to be a classroom teacher in Shanghai. If you teach TEFL you need more qualifications then a primary school teacher. You can also check this site but they do wear a 10 gallon hat http://www.teachingnomad.com/ but some of their posts may be suitable for you.

    http://www.teachingnomad.com/index.php/detail?openid=316338000005771488

    This is a sample of the lower order jobs on offer but they do go up the scale.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  17. zrcadlo

    zrcadlo New commenter

    Hi again, well, I had a lot of tricky conversations with the principal on the phone once his team confirmed that, indeed (and as I had suspected) his advice had been wrong and we DID have to be married for my at the time non-working partner to come over. The conversations were tricky, but very s
     
  18. tk212

    tk212 New commenter

    What if you are married but as a modern day woman, didn't change your surname? Your passport doesn't include titles.....

    Would you need to carry around your marriage certificate?
     
  19. tk212

    tk212 New commenter

    Also, if you are travelling with a spouse who isn't a teacher - they will be included in your package? Even if they get work locally doing something else??
     
  20. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    Good point, my partner moans and groans about the prospect of a name change.

    What would happen if both partners were to get independent employment? (i.e. accommodation) Is it just a case of one of you saying, "no thank you" to an allowance/provided accommodation? How would an employer view living together in provided accommodation if you were working for different companies?
    (have re-read this a few times in my head;sorry if it doesn't make sense - long day!)
     

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