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Trailing non-teacher spouse to Asia

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by SoyaCoffee, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. SoyaCoffee

    SoyaCoffee New commenter

    I’m a British newly qualified teacher (PGCE QTS) with a BA Hons and TEFL. In a year or two I really want to teach in China, Thailand, Hong Kong or Japan. Or any other Far East/South Eastern Asian country. However, my partner doesn’t have a degree. He has other qualifications, but I’m unsure whether he can still get a work visa. He doesn’t want to be a teacher so surely a lack of degree won’t matter when applying to other jobs?

    Has anyone moved with their spouse to one of these countries? Did the school help find accommodation for you to share? Was your spouse able to get a work visa?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    My husband and I were in the same situation when we moved to Malaysia, he does have a degree but isn't qualified for a specific profession. He initially hoped to find a job here, but had no success before we left the UK nor when we arrived, largely because the jobs available in his area of experience (Science/Chemistry) were poorly paid and it honestly wasn't worth him taking a job like this when it wouldn't add much to our finances as we could happily live on just my wage, and the limited annual leave would mean that he'd have far less holiday than me, and one of the reasons we moved abroad was for the travel opportunities. Instead, he's been doing volunteer work which he has found far more rewarding and interesting than the sort of job he would have been qualified to do.

    Your partner would need to get a job before arriving and it would have to be one which gave him an employment pass, which means the employer would have to be able to prove that they couldn't hire a local to do the job, and it would have to be over a certain wage. This would be the same for most countries. If you're married then he'd get a dependent visa attached to your employment pass, but if you aren't married then he wouldn't.
    Some people will tell you that international schools will find work for partners/spouses, but this isn't my experience - I have a lot of colleagues with non-working partners, some of whom have relevant qualifications/experience, but our school has not gone out of their way to find a job for them.
  3. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Cross China off your list, a three year BA is required as minimum qualification for a work visa.

    But I have met about 7000 expats who claim to work in Shanghai as night club DJs, so anything might be possible.
  4. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    He can work in HK on a spouse/dependent visa... assuming the economy picks up and he can get a job.
  5. SoyaCoffee

    SoyaCoffee New commenter

    That’s good to know that he enjoyed volunteering. A shame he couldn’t find a job before you left. Which kind of visa did he get?

  6. SoyaCoffee

    SoyaCoffee New commenter

    Yes I had a feeling that was the case. He’s considering a degree, but we did wonder if they had a dependant visa in China.

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  7. SoyaCoffee

    SoyaCoffee New commenter

    Oh I didn’t realise you could work on a dependant visa. A lot of my family live in HK so I do want to visit (and possibly live and work there).

  8. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    If your OH is not willing to teach English (and even that may be difficult in some countries as he doesn't have a degree) it might be a stretch for him to find work, especially when economies will be reeling for some time after the pandemic - ask yourself, why would a foreigner be given work over a local?
  9. SoyaCoffee

    SoyaCoffee New commenter

    He’s willing, but he doesn’t have a degree. I thought you needed a degree to teach abroad.

  10. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Most countries in Asia impose strict restrictions on working on a spouse visa to prevent fake marriages been used to bypass visa regulations. Also the same reason why common law partners are not allowed. It's very easy to per$uade someone to marry you in Asia.

    A spouse visa allows you to be a resident but not to work.
  11. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    In Malaysia the employed person gets an Employment Pass and their spouse gets a Dependent Pass. This gives them the right to live here but not to work. Honestly though, our life is better with him not having a job than if he'd gone one, because we're free to travel in as much of my holidays as we want, he volunteers 2-3 days a week so isn't bored or lonely but has time to do his hobbies and to be in charge of our household stuff and life admin (he's basically my PA :) ), and my wage is enough for us to live on comfortably, so all in all we have a much better standard of living and work-life balance than when we were both working in the UK.
  12. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    For China, he would be eligible for a spouse visa - that in itself doesn't need a degree - but bear in mind that he would have to be happy kicking his heels at home for quite a bit, and the boredom could well kick in. You should get a housing allowance and the school might help find accommodation (at least, if it's a decent one it will.)

    You don't mention what he currently does for a living. It's not impossible that a school could find him a 'job' and explain away his presence in the school as 'he's a parent' - I can think of a few people I know of where that's been done.
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Mrs Hippopotamus got herself a job as an international model. She also had a few "bit parts" in some films, sometimes in HK or Guangzhou. These things are pretty unreliable, cash-in-hand, no questions asked about visas or anything like that.
  14. lc547186

    lc547186 New commenter

    HK- if you are married you can get a dependency pass. Then your partner can work, infact they can do anything, work part time or full time, hold a few jobs, set up a business, become a student. My partner did exactly this when we first arrived, but they have a degree and teaching experience so just upscale quals to get back in.

    However, with so many areas of HK having been closed for most parts of 2020 getting a job right now may be difficult. It is not impossible, but the work you can get without a degree may not pay well in HK terms but can equate to 2000GBP per month which would almost be tax free as they would over be 60000HKD over the tax free threshold (I think that's right). You can also bundle your tax together, claim back parts of your rent as tax and this year they reduced everyone's tax bill too because of the situation so it is not bad.

    What I can say is if your role is well paid in HK terms, and your willing to live in a flat under 300sqft then you can manage on one salary anyway, unless you have kids that is. Then you need 2 salaries.

    HK's major expense is rent, but I find that most things outside of this are actually cheap. In my opinion anyway.
  15. Lottatea

    Lottatea New commenter

    Hi lucyrose. What school are you at, if you dont mind me asking and do you recommend it. I am looking for a vacanacy for jan2021. Any suggestions?

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