How Do I Get a Release Letter in China?


120hr + Full Tutor Support

10% off with ESL102021

teachaway logo

120hr Online TEFL Course

Best Online Option!


120hr Digital TEFL Course

15% Discount!


120hr Online TEFL Class

Most Reputable!


This post may contain affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). Please read our disclosure for more information.

No matter if you’re returning home after your contract or merely switching jobs, having a release letter from your previous employer is invaluable.  It’s best to think of this little piece of paper as one of the i’s you need to dot in order to move on, whether that’s getting a new job or transferring your visa.

Usually, release letters in China are given without issue, but if you’re breaking your contract early or have rubbed your school the wrong way, it might prove more difficult than you anticipated.

What is a release letter?

A letter of release is a document written and issued by the school for which you’ve been working.  The contents of the letter should state that you have been legally working in China and are still on good terms with the school.  In addition, the letter should also mention that you’re in good standing with the law and are eligible to continue working and living in China.  

Per Chinese law, schools are required to give you a release letter upon exiting.  However, as we mentioned earlier, some employers may withhold the letter and make the transition a bit more difficult.

When do I need a release letter?

There really is no wrong time to get a release letter as it’s necessary when changing jobs and has proven helpful if you are thinking about returning in the future.  The information it provides can help you in the following situations:

  • If you’re switching jobs mid-contract
  • If you’re changing jobs after completing a contract
  • If you’re looking to change your visa from one type to another (for example, if you want to get a tourist visa after your contract so you travel a bit)
  • If you’re leaving the country completely

Again, schools are legally required to give you the release letter.  If you’re leaving the school to teach or work elsewhere, the letter will allow your next employer to renew your work and residency permits.  

China’s laws are very strict, and ensuring you stay within the laws and abide by all work and residency permit policies will ensure your safety and freedom to work and travel the country.

What if my employer won’t give me a release letter?

There are plenty of horror stories out there related to schools withholding release letters either out of spite or confusion.  While it’s easy to understand why a school would be mad about you breaking a contract or wanting to work elsewhere, they really have no excuse if you abide by your contract when it comes to parting ways.

However, if they still refuse to play ball, there are a few things you can do to let them know they are in the wrong:

  • Schedule a meeting with school administrators and come prepared.  This means printing out the applicable parts of the law and your contract to let them know they are obligated to provide the letter.
  • Contact State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) and file a complaint.  SAFEA has offices in various cities spread throughout the country and most of the time even the threat of getting them involved is enough to get the process started.
  • Ask your new job to get involved.  If you’re moving jobs then it’s in your new employer’s best interest to help you out, simply explain the situation and see what they can do.

When in Doubt, Know the Law

Familiarize yourself with policies regarding work and residency permits at the China Embassy website.  This guide is a comprehensive list of requirements and procedures regarding foreign work permits in China.

Though the task may seem daunting, knowing when you’re in the right will help you avoid any conflicts and headache in the leaving process.


*Made with love by the same people who run ESL Authority!

148 Responses

  1. hello, i have been working for a school in China. i told them i want to leave and work elsewhere, i will have fulfilled my contract with them and not breach it either. but they are being difficult with me and asked me to pay a significant amount of money. i told them this is against the law and even had legal advice too. and i had meeting with the school last week and shown them the employment articles in law. i have found out today that a lot of schools are starting to do this in this order to keep the teachers they threaten them with money. i just want to leave on good terms, i dont know what to do next.

    1. Hi Andrea – what do they say the money is for? If you already have a new job or school the first thing Id do is ask them to come to your aid – oftentimes they know what to say on your behalf. If that doesn’t work then Id contact SAFEA and file a complaint as explained in the article – or, just tell your school you are going to do that if they don’t comply.

      Good luck, please let us know how it works out!

      1. Hello, i received an offer from a school in China which i accepted, they sent me the initial work permit and i got the z. They breached the contract before i entered, im still in my country. They told Me.they cancelled the initial permit. Do i need a release letter to get another school job and is my z still valid? Thank you

        1. Hi Petroula – Im unsure on this – if you’re looking for a new job it’s best if you ask them what they need on their end.

        2. I also experience what you’ve experienced maam, what I do is I look for another employer, and I ask my previous employer to cancel the notification letter, since the visa issued in the embassy cannot be cancelled, that is according to my new employer.

    2. I’ve never known an honest employer yet, in China (in 6 years) either in my experience orcanyone else’s.
      They are bully-babies, smart-arsed retards.
      Don’t let them steal your money: thisviscwhatvthey want the most.

  2. What is the law here for release letters? Does anyone know? When do they have to give you one? Is it one month before it expires…etc?

    1. As you probably already know, the laws can be a bit ‘fluid’ depending on your city and there are plenty of employers who don’t like to follow them. Id suggest contacting SAFEA (start here and ask them for current rules based on your location – FYI it will be easier if you are legal and on a Z visa.

  3. How does one find contact details for Safe? There are no email addresses, phone numbers, or physical addresses available on their web site.

      1. Hello. I am in the process of quiting my job and transfer the visa to a new employer. On monday i will need to go to sign the 离职证明 and then the company needs to start cancelling my working visa. I am living in the hotel of the company so on wednesday I will force to leave this place. My question is can I start to move my things to my company in the shenzhen. Or I need to be close to my company in Tianjin to receive the following documents like the release letter? Can the old company send to my new address or could it be done online?. Thanks in advance

        1. I believe things can be sent via mail but Id confirm with your employer first – you may need to sign something and they may prefer if you pick everything up in person.

          1. gud day!!my wife is a teacher in shangahai.She then voluntarily resign from her employer.Is there sa possibility that she can have a release letter from the employer though she voluntarily resign?

      2. Hello! Does anybody here know about the policy in Nantong, Jiangsu regarding the transfer to a different school? I’m a non-native speaker and I have been working here for 5 years. I want to move to a new school when my contract finishes in June but someone mentioned that it might Be difficult now to move to a different school. If that’s the case, I’d be stuck in this school.

        1. Hi Kai – I can’t speak to Jiangsu but you can always ask other employers what you’re options are – they should know how feasible a transfer is.

  4. Hi,

    Here I thought that this release letter was the most important document, but it seems that the cancellation Paperwork is just as important!

    Here’s my story..

    Can anybody explain to me how the cancellation process works. I’d like my cancellation Paperwork on my last day with my release letter….my HR claims they can only start the cancellation process the day after my contract(which will then take 15 days to get), but I will apparently for sure get the release letter….then I hear of this online cancellation process which takes about 4-5 days…I’m finishing my contract and obviously got a better job…
    Who or where can I go to?eg. A government department/SAFEA

    My last day/contract expiration day/date is 23 November, residency expires 27 November and I’m scheduled to start the 28 November 2018.

    My current school knows this, in the past 2-3 months, a total of 7 Teachers has left and no one re-signed. This is a training center (franchise)… Jiangsu province… I’m moving to another city in the same province.

    What proof can I obtain to show them that they can cancel the FEC before the time?…all these timelines and documents are frustratingly confusing…

    Can my current school cancel my FEC before my last day?where and how?? They claim I’ll be illegal… other people say it can be done.. I feel the current school just wants me to make Hong Kong runs, giving out money on flights, accommodation..etc, as if to get us back for some dumb ass close minded reason.

    Please help!

    Here’s my wechat : Fabian 180285


    I finish next week Friday!yay!

    1. Hi Fabian – the two schools (your old and new) should be working together on this and I would highly recommend leaning on your new employer to get things done. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if cancellation is necessary, you should be transferring everything to the new school and there is a defined process for that where you don’t have to go to HK.

      My advice would be to (1) contact your new school and explain what’s happening – it’s in their best interest to make it as easy as possible for you so that you can start work. If they are clueless, (2) contact your SAFEA branch (see for the Jiangsu location) and find out your options – you might need a Chinese speaker for this and Id suggest one that isn’t your current school.

      Good luck!

      1. Hello! Have a nice day! Could you please send me or give me an example release letter? I want to know the format of the letter. Thanks a lot.

          1. Hi, I have just renewed a contract with my current employer. I think I was tricked in the new contract I signed. Apparently, my employer forced me to work 8 hours a day for the 6 working days per week. I reminded her of the 30 teaching hours to be completed in a week based on the contract. Now, she’s being unreasonable telling me that I supposed to work 40 hours according to the law. Since my classes do not reach 30 teaching hours, she insisted me to go to the office. I felt upset because we never agreed to doing office hours in the first place. Classes are usually plotted in the morning from 9:00 to 12:00 and in the afternoon from 2:30 to 8:00. I demanded her not plot any classes beyond 6:30 because I am attending teacher’s trainings to renew my teaching license back in my country. But she got angry and yelled she doesn’t care about my life. I was upset and told her I am informing her my personal life because I don’t want it to affect my work life. All I want is for her no to plot classes beyond 6:30 and give me a heads-up whenever they need in the office. She always called for me in the office in such short notice. She restricted me from my personal freedom and even tried to intimidate me.

            I want to leave this company. I finished the first year contract with her and have signed a 2-year contract. Honestly, I told her that I might be leaving China next year as I am planning to settle down with my boyfriend. This is not sure yet but only an excuse in order to leave quietly from her company.

            My plan is to resign and render 3 months until she finds someone to replace me. All I want is for her to give my Cancellation Letter. I may have to leave China or remain here depending the situation in my country. According to contract, I am not allowed to move to another company during the contract period or I have to pay penalty for breaching the contract. But if I choose to stay and move to a new company , will it be a big problem? Do I need to inform her that I am moving to another company instead? I honestly don’t want he to know that. I am planning to tell her that I am leaving the country so she will give me my Cancellation Letter and once I have it. I will apply for a new job without her knowledge. I just don’t really want any conflict and cut ties with her as soon as I leave.

            Please help me what to do if she will not give me my cancellation letter and last payment. She used to do this to other foreign teachers. So, I am worried about it.

          2. Wow – this is a tough situation. Honestly, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to avoid conflict here – you will need her help to transfer your permits to the new school and I doubt you can do it without her knowledge. If you want to stay in China your best option is to get your new school involved for help.

      2. Hi Quincy,

        Cancelling the work permit is absolutely required. The new employer cannot even get through the work permit application until this is completed as the prospective employer is still linked with another work unit.


  5. I am working for a school in China, but I’m employed by an agency. Do I need to get the release letter from the agency or the school?

    1. You need to get the letter from whichever company is linked with your visa – in this case, it sounds like it’d be the agency if you are employed with them but it should be stated in your contract.

      1. Hello

        Who can I contact if the school doesn’t want to give me the release letter or cancellation papper work.


        Kind regards

        1. Have you tried getting your new employer involved? That’s usually the first place to start as they should want to help create a smooth transition.

  6. Hi,
    In 2016 I worked for a school in Xi’an for 6mths and left because they didn’t pay according to the contract. My contract and visa have both expired. Do I still need a release letter, the employment agent is saying I do?

    1. To the best of our knowledge, you only need a release letter if you’re still under contract and are changing jobs. If your last job was in 2016 and you’re trying to return to China then the process should work as if you were applying for a job for the first time, ie no release letter needed.

    2. Hi. I am moving to a new school in Beijing. I am currently teaching in Shanghai but I already confirmed that I would breach the contract and would leave the school at the end of school year. They promised me to give all I need like the release letter and everything else. Now my concern is that I have signed a contract with a school in Beijing and I will start next semester around mid August there. But another school in Shanghai came up just recently and might give me a better offer. What if I cancel the signed contract with this school in Beijing? Would that be a problem? Because I actually haven’t given any hard copies of my documents to the school in Beijing.

      1. I can’t say for certain but I believe if you haven’t started transferring all of your documents yet then you should be ok, though there may be a penalty in the contract you will cancel.

  7. Dear Quincy

    Thanks for all the great replies. I see the thread is fairly decent and so are some of the comments. I left China in 2016 and never received a release letter. My employer also refuses to give one as as some of the above people they were not paying me.

    As I understand you, I may now reapply for a new work visa without the need for a release letter? I would like to make certain so as to move forward with my interviews etc with the new school

    1. Hi Keith – thanks for the kind words. Yes, to the best of my knowledge, a release letter is only needed when moving from job to job when your visa and work permit are still valid. If you left in 2016 you will likely just apply as normal and have to redo all the paperwork, but I would definitely confirm with the school as each city and province often have different requirements.

      1. Sorry to bother Quincy. In addition to my case, I would be coming back to teach music and not English. Does this further help my situation?

        1. Hi Keith – the process is tied to the type of visa you have, not the job, so you will likely still need to reapply if your permits are expired.

  8. Hello ,
    I have been working for one year in China. I spent 12 months , before three months I warned my boss that I will no longer renew the contract with his school … he wouldn’t like to let me go , he kept trying to convince me but I wouldn’t like because the salary is very low… so I told him I want to try somewhere . As I started preparing myself to get back to my country I asked him to give the release paper , but he refused … now what is the solution?

    1. Hi Jilan – sorry you’re going through this! As far as we know, your employer is obligated to provide the release letter and if they refuse I’d suggest contacting SAFEA ( and asking for the next steps. You can also ask your new employer (if you have one) for help as they might have more luck with cooperation.

  9. Hi everyone

    I would really appreciate your help.

    I recently left my teaching job and broke my contract (midnight flit). I’m not proud of it, but my employer was extremely bad). My former employer would like to employ me again, but the last school won’t issue any paperwork unless I pay them a huge amount of money. Reading above it seems like I just need wait until the contract I didn’t complete naturally expires and then I can apply from scratch in my home country (z visa etc.) without the need of the release letter. Can anyone confirm if that is correct? It would be a real weight off my mind.

    1. Hi Phil – this one is tricky as you broke your contract. First – did your contract outline a penalty for breaking it – if so, what? Second, Id reach out to your former employer and see if they can help – Im not sure if you need to wait until your contract is technically over or not, but they can likely talk to your bad employer more easily than you can.

      1. Hi Quincy

        Thanks for the advice. There is a penalty clause in the contract. Will that make a legal difference? I’ve been reading lots of information that states they are not enforcable.

        Thanks 🙂

        1. I have no idea about the legalities but my thought was that if you have a penalty clause you can offer to pay it (assuming it’s reasonable) and hope that remedies the situation. However, Id still get your former employer involved as it’s in their best interested to get you working ASAP and they might be able to work some magic.

  10. Hello. I signed a contract with a university. They emailed me the notification letter but I did request the visa because I knew that the university was a fraud with the contract with workers. So,although I signed the contract, I never got the visa and I never worked in China. Must I get a release letter? Can I have difficulties if I want to work with other school? Kind regards

    1. If you never got a visa then I do not think you need a release letter and it’s unlikely you’ll have any difficulties working with other schools.

      1. Hello. I posted on 21st February 2019 about the process with an university. The school told me that university applied the visa and they did not cancel it. How can I make they cancel? Kind regards

        1. Hi Ramon – Im sorry but I dont know the answer to this – I suggest contacting the school and asking them OR getting your new employer involved.

          1. Can you recommend me companies that help Foreign workers to cancel work permits when employers are making difficult the employment of that workers by keeping active the work permit? Kind regards.

  11. The SAFEA is useless. None of the ones I have contacted speak English – I don’t understand how they deal with foreigners but not know English. And they don’t even respond to emails. If you are lucky, all you get is an automated response.

  12. Hello. A Chinese school offerred me a position but I have no contract in Chinese. Only English. Is that normal? Kind regards

    1. Hi Ramon – it’s not uncommon but you can ask them for a version in Chinese or get it translated yourself and ask that they sign.

  13. Hi, my wife and I worked for a terrible employer/training center and decided to leave without notice (as notice would have complicated the situation further and make matters more difficult for us). Naturally, we have no release letters as a result. A hr person from the school sent us an email stating that we were terminated due to “irresponsible working attitude” and when I scanned our FECs (which we took with us to our home country) it says our FECs have been cancelled. Can we reaapply to another teaching position in China with out release letters if we wanted to? We are back home in the US now.

    1. Hi Doug – yes, I believe you should be good to go but to double check, Id be upfront with every potential employer (I assume they will see the previous job on your resumes) just so they can let you know if there will be any hiccups.

  14. Hi Quincy, I am in a bit of a tight spot and I’m hoping you can help me out. I am currently working for a training center in Hangzhou, China. The training center is well known for their malice behavior and making it extremely difficult for their employees to leave the school. My contract ends in August, but due to unforeseen circumstances in my home country I need to leave next month. I want to give them my months notice this week, but I’m scared that they will not pay me my full salary next month (I’m leaving a few days after payday) and I’m also scared that they will not give me my release letter. Can I leave the country without my release letter? And can they prevent me from leaving the country in some way if I don’t give them a notice and just leave?

    1. Hi Landi – sorry you’re in this position. In terms of salary, yes it will be a risk and if they are a bad school they could very well withhold the money knowing you’re leaving – you might just have to chance it. Re: release letter – they are legally obligated to provide that and Im pretty certain not having will not impact your ability to leave China. The risk comes if they decided to cancel your visa when you give your notice, in this case you might have to leave early, though this is unlikely. Finally, if you just leave without notice then they won’t know until you’re gone – I can’t really advise this as it’s not very professional, but it’s not uncommon when dealing with bad schools.

  15. I am having some issues with my school refusing to provide my release letter. I am leaving the middle of my contract, but I have far exceeded the 30 day requirement for my resignation, giving about 4 months notice before my last day working for the school and about 6 months before they would need to find a replacement. My current school is trying to stand in the way of letting me to go to the new school, and has both told my new school they will not provide a release letter, and currently administration is ignoring my requests to meet to discuss the matter. It’s been about 5 days so far since I was informed by my new school that my old school is acting as such. Both of my schools are in Beijing. Though I mostly know who I can contact and such, further advice on agencies to seek out as well as how I should best go about this to ensure things work out for me. I’m getting advice from others, but any additional info would really be appreciated

    1. Hi Justin – the only official agency is SAFEA but they are notoriously hard to work with (consider having a Chinese speaking friend with you if you contact them). The other (and better) option is to have your new school go to bat for you – it’s in their best interest to have this process go as smoothly as possible. Have you met with them to explain the situation? If so, have you asked them to help?

      1. thank you, quincy, for you quick reply. First of all, if I needed to get SAFEA involved there would be no reason to find a friend. My wife is Chinese, and I speak Chinese pretty well myself. We had a chance to consult with HR from a third school (one my wife used to work for and still has ties to), and they really broke the whole situation down for us. Basically, there is absolutely nothing my current school can do to prevent me from starting work with my new school under my current visa. Even without a release letter. basically, if they refuse to provide it they would just be causing problems for themselves, so I really have nothing to be afraid of. Let it serve as an example for others though: If you live and work in China, you do have rights! don’t let your employer trick you into thinking they own you

        1. Great news, thanks for sharing! Hopefully, this will help other people as I know it can be hard trying to figure out what’s legal and what’s not!

  16. Hello there! There is an issue I came across, my contract is until October. I have started with company 2+ months ago. I am having breathing problem in this city and its getting worse, I am on nose drops, otherwise I will die.
    Yesterday I was offered another job, in Shanghai and would like to move. My probation period is 6 months with current employer and I’ve read there is such law that if you are on probation, you can have a 3 day notice and leave. But according to my contract it is 30 day notice. I am sure my current boss won’t give me a release letter. What is the most practical thing to do? Go back to my country ? Will it help or any other suggestions? Maybe hire an attorney ?But I am not sure how much they usually charge for such services?

    1. Wow, 6mo probation is absurd – I think the law only allows for 1mo probation, but that’s beside the point. So, the first thing Id do is get your new school involved – it’s in their best interest to have this go smoothly so if you explain the situation they may want to help smooth things over with your current employer. Second, schools are legally obligated to give release letters so if give your 30 days notice you are in the right – they might fight you but legally they must provide the letter – again, this will be easier with your new school involved.

      1. By law, your employer is only allowed to implement a 30 day probation period, so if your school tries to say otherwise make sure to put forward that you are aware of this. also, so long as you give the 30 day notice you are fine. One tip I have: make sure you submit your resignation both physically and electronically. In my current move between schools there was something that didn’t quite add up. My new school informed me that my current school was refusing to provide the release letter, and they asked me if I had told my school I would be quitting. only after thinking about it for a while did I put the pieces together and realize that because I only provided a paper copy of the resignation my current school was just pretending they had never received it. make sure there is both a paper trail and an electronic trail

  17. I have one question about how to force the school to hand over the release letter. going to try again to get my school to do it the nice way, but I feel like I need to prepare for the event that they wont do it. If I were to submit a new resignation for 30 days instead of at the end of the semester would my school have to provide the letter at that time, or can they hold onto it longer. my wife and I have some conflicting info.on this.

    1. Hi Justin – just re-read your previous comments and it sounds unlikely your current school will play ball. You also sound well-informed and able to speak Chinese – why not just move forward without them as you mentioned previously? If they can’t stop you then the risk is theirs to take – I have no idea if there is a time limit on providing a release letter or not, but at this point Id be leaning heavily on your new school to flex their guanxi to get the letter or start taking the steps to move forward without it.

  18. Hi Quincy,

    I’m in a bit of a jam and I see the advice you’ve given others has been really useful. I’m currently under a contract that has a clause that says that I cannot cancel the contract without the school’s agreement. I have contacted a lawyer and sent them an official resignation letter, but they still maintain that they ‘do not agree’ to the cancellation and I will have to stay until the end of the term (July). Essentially, they’re holding me hostage. I know that Chinese law says that a contract can be cancelled on 30 days notice – does this trump the contract I’ve signed? Your help is really appreciated!!

    1. Hi Sarah – Im not a lawyer but Id suspect the law trumps the contract but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be as easy as telling your school about it. If you’re looking to cancel to move to another school then Id get them involved, if you just want to leave China and never return then you don’t need to do anything other than pack your bags, but it gets difficult if you want to leave China and return sometime. Which of these scenarios applies to you and what does the lawyer say about it?

      1. Hi Quincy, thank you for the quick reply! I am hoping that the law also trumps the contract, but so far the school is unresponsive to this and insisting on the validity of the contract. The trouble is that I’m looking to transfer to another position in another province. What can my new employer do about this situation?

        1. Hi Sarah – the only thing remotely similar to this that I’ve heard is related to probation periods – by Chinese law it can’t exceed 30 days BUT if you sign a contract stating a probation period of say 90 days then the contract stands since you essentially agreed to the increase by signing the contract – this could be similar to your situation since you signed the contract, but again Id ask the lawyer.

          Regarding the other school, oftentimes Chinese schools and companies can come to an agreement much easier than a foreigner could – it’s in your new school’s best interest to have the process go smoothly so if you explain the situation to them and ask for help they might have more luck. On the other hand, July isn’t that far away so if they can’t or are unwilling to help it might make more sense to just wait it out and try to end things with your current school on a good note.

  19. Hi,

    I’m in the middle of trying to gain employment in China and I need to cancel a work permit with one school so I can get a work permit through another school. I don’t have a visa yet but I want to make sure I don’t run into complications with the school of my choice when asking them to apply for a work permit for me. I have asked the school I currently have a work permit through to cancel it but they are taking a while to confirm if they will cancel it and not reapply for another one. I want to make sure that I can get a work permit through the new school without the any complications. Does anyone know if I can let the new school apply for a permit without having complications with there already being a current permit? And is there a way to confirm if my current permit is cancelled?

    1. I should clarify, I need to know if I can get a different visa notification letter through the new employer without having the old visa notification letter cancelled. I am not in China yet and haven’t done anything regarding a work permit.

      1. Hi Ken – so Im not sure about this – you have a visa invitation aka work permit but haven’t gotten the visa – correct? And you want to get another permit/invite with another school, correct? I know work permits can be transferred but typically only at the end of a contract. Im not sure if your new school can issue another invite letter or not, have you talked to them about it? If not that’s what Id do first – you need their assistance as this is an unusual case – sorry I cant be more helpful.

  20. Hi,

    I’ve been working in Shanghai for more than 9 months. The school fired because I am too expensive for them. They were claiming that they notified me one month in advance but they didn’t, in any form oral nor written. I know they are trying to avoid paying me one month in advance as it stands in my contract. Although manager was on my side trying to point out the truth, the owners are persistent in this and they denied to pay me. They promise to give me my release letter and recommendation letter as well this Friday, but I don’t trust them anymore. The problem is that I am leaving China the next day. But I want these papers in case I want to come back. Any advice what should I do if they don’t give me these papers?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Maya – you dont have a lot of options because you’re leaving China. They are required to hand over the release letter but you don’t have much leverage if you’re not here. If you stick around Id get SAFEA involved, but if you’re deadset on going you might be out of luck. However, if you want to come back, the main thing you need is the recommendation letter (the release letter is only if you’re taking another job immediately, I believe) so maybe consider asking for it OR writing one up yourself and having your manager sign it?

  21. Hello. My name’s Graeme. I’m 62 years old and taught English in Japan for 24 years. Please advise if there really is an age limit for a Z visa, as some claim. I tried emailing Safea but got no reply. How strictly would it be applied if it does exist? Thanks.

    1. Hi Graeme – I believe the retirement age for China is 60 or 65 but in my experience, it’s selectively enforced. I wouldn’t rely on SAFEA for this, instead, Id start contacting employers or recruiters as they will quickly be able to tell you if they have any opportunities.

  22. I gave written notice on May 27th that I would be leaving on June 30th, 2019. My contract states that I must provide written notice 30 days in advance. I have never violated or broken my contract in any way. I’ve never even used any of my paid vacation days. With the exception of a week long stint in the hospital last fall where the school had to take me to the emergency department and the doctors told the school I couldn’t leave (during my first contract), I have never missed a day of work since I’ve been at this school. I’ve been a pretty model employee.

    During our meeting, my boss would not let me take a photo of my FEC card for my new employer. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to have or see the card while I’m under contract. (Red flag #1) I saw the card with my picture on it in the box with my contract, so I know it’s mine. My boss also told me that she wouldn’t be able to let me know if I’m allowed to leave right now. She said she would need to talk to her lawyer and figure out what the law is and it doesn’t matter what my contract says she will only do what the law says. (Red Flag #2) She told me that she would let me know her decision after 30 days and I refused and told her that was unacceptable. I told her I needed to know before June 1st. She claims that her lawyer is out of the country for 10 days. So I told her she could have two weeks, and no later. We had a lot of back and forth. I probably shouldn’t have said this, but I told her that we weren’t really going to be discussing when I’m leaving. I made it clear I would leave on June 30th with or without my release papers. She told me that if I left without her permission, that she would refuse to cancel my work permit/residence permit until March when my contract expires. (Red flag #3)

    My boss has fought with the previous foreign teacher, so I made it clear that I wasn’t looking to fight or have an argument from the very beginning. I just want to settle this as peacefully as possible and don’t want to have to get SAFEA involved. She told me that it didn’t matter if I contacted SAFEA because they wouldn’t do anything to her (Red Flag #4).

    I haven’t contacted SAFEA yet. I’m not sure when I should contact them and what I should say. I’ve heard that most offices don’t speak English and that you’ll need a chinese speaker. I’ve been very transparent with my new school. They haven’t really gave me much advice about this situation, just that “Please try your best to negotiate with your current employer and let them release you smoothly.” They’ve basically told me that if I can’t get my release papers myself, there is very little they can do to help me and they won’t be able to get me a visa.

    What are my options? Do I have any options? I’m literally open to any advice y’all can give me. I’ve had a friend in my city tell me I should hire a lawyer, but I’m not sure what that will actually accomplish other than waste my money.

    If my school isn’t going to give me my release papers, I plan on just returning home to America and taking a couple weeks to relax before trying to figure out what I would do next. I really enjoy working and living in China, and was looking forward to finally getting into an international school here. But if I go home, I planned on looking into working in Japan/Korea or taking a long term sub position/teach online until my contract runs out and I can start from scratch in China.

    If I go back to America, should I stay until June 30th and go then, or leave now? I was paid last week, and I’m not sure how likely they are to pay me at the end of June knowing I want to leave on June 30th. At the end of the day, staying in China isn’t worth my mental health, and if going home is the best option I’m fine with it.

    1. You’re right – lots of red flags here, but I can also see it from the point of your boss as it sounds like you haven’t even stayed 6mo – they have every right to be mad. In terms of what to do Id really lean on your new school to help you out, it will be easier than SAFEA and if you explain that you can’t work for them without their help then it might convince them. If you go with SAFEA you will need a Chinese speaker and it might not help in your short timeframe – I’ve never dealt with them personally but from everything I’ve heard they don’t move all that quickly. Have you considered just staying through your contract? It might be the easiest path forward here vs going home and hanging out until your visa/permit expires…

      1. I realize that maybe I wasn’t very clear in my first post. This is my second contract with my school. I’ve been working for them since April 2018 though my original contract started March 2018. I told the boss that I wouldn’t stay for the entire length of the second contract when I signed my second contract because the city is very small and I eventually want to work for an international school.

        My school has been going downhill for awhile. I’m really not happy with my current situation or the decisions the new management has been making in regards to the education my school provides our students. They continually make promises that they don’t follow through on, such as giving all teachers more time off. I wasn’t given any additional time off for the qing ming festival, even though the chinese teachers received an extra two or three days off in addition to their normal days off. I’m not allowed to use any of my paid time off days because I’m the only foreign teacher. I’m required to work extra hours during summer and winter classes but they refuse to pay me overtime. Instead they give me more time off in exchange which is fine, but I’m not allowed to use my time off because I’m the only foreign teacher. I’ve politely complained about this and basically was told I have no reason to complain because I make the most money. Training schools are a business, and that’s just part of education here in China. When I first started working here, education was the priority and most decisions centered around how can we make sure our students are actually learning and getting something from our school. I signed a second contract because of that. After my second contract started, the owner stepped in and fired 7 employees (all management/head teachers). The focus now is on how much money we can make and how many pictures and videos can we post on wechat during one lesson.

        1. Hey Roxy – thanks for clarifying – you’re definitely in a tough spot. I wish I had more advice but if your new school won’t step in and you don’t have time to go to SAFEA then your only option might be to leave and wait for your contract to expire. Another thought – if their motivation is money you might try and offer some for your documents. I normally wouldn’t even suggest this as it sets a bad precedent but you seem to know what you want (and what they want) and this could be an easy (but costly) solution.

  23. Hey everyone, I’m living in Chongquing and two days ago my employer said he uploaded the document to cancel the work permit because I’m gonna move to Shenzhen to other work position. I need as soon as possible the letter but my current employer even answer my questions. Can I know by myself what is the status or download the letter on any website? Let me know your advice, what I have to do?

    1. Hi Ana – I don’t believe workers have access to this website but I believe the process is quick (less than 10 days). Your best option is to keep asking your current employer for updates – good luck.

  24. I went to China on a year contract. On arrival There was zero induction from the school and was just hanging around reporting for duty not knowing whats going on. Aside from that I had to walk in the freezing cold 4-12km to the school as Wechat pay wasnt set up and Weall know China is cashless. After ten days of being hungry, lost and exhausted I notified the school whilst already at Shanghai airport that Im leaving and headed home. So I broke a contract after 5 working days.
    They refuse to cancel my work permit barring any other school to employ me. What other repurcushions are there? Trying to speak and sort things out in an amicable manner is impossible as i am this horrible person in their eyes.

    1. Hi Chayil – to be honest, you didn’t go about this in the correct way – you should have tried to work with the school according to your contract in order to improve conditions. No matter how bad the conditions were, you owed it to them as an employee to try and work it out before leaving so abruptly, I’m not sure you have many options as you’re already leaving China – if you’re looking to come back Id be up front with every school you talk to and see if you can get them to help get a new permit.

  25. Hi q

    Tell me is there a database of sorts that a potential employee can take a gander at? .. So that one may side step these ” potholes” you call “bad schools”

    If we “named and shamed ” (even just amongst ourselves) .. perhaps schools needing our services might think twice about giving us the run around … A bit of leverage can do wonders in some of those situation!

  26. How long is a release letter valid for? My old school let me go and cancelled my visa in April after only a month due to pay disputes. I have finally found a company I would like to work with, my visa is still valid until next year. Would my current company have to apply for another visa?

    1. Hi Sarah – I believe they will need to apply for a new visa if you original was canceled. The purpose of the release letter is to facilitate the transfer of a visa between employers, but since your visa has been canceled I believe the process will need to be started from scratch.

      1. I am still in China, just waiting for the new company to work on my visa but the waiting is making me anxious. I have not left China since my arrival, would that be a problem. Do you know if I would have to go back home to redo the whole visa again?

        1. How are you still in China if your visa was canceled? Regardless, some companies are able to transfer visas from within the country while others will require you to leave and go to Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. This is really something you should discuss with your new employer as they should know what the process will be.

          1. There’s a lot of misinformation going on here.
            Her work permit (blue card) was cancelled but her VISA/residence permit (sticker in passport) is still valid, that’s why she still can stay in China.
            2 documents are necessary for a work permit transfer: work permit cancellation and release letter (reference letter).

            The maximum probation period for 1 year contract is 2 months, and the salary paid during this period can be inferior to the one agreed (80% of total).
            This must be regulated by law otherwise employers could set unreasonable long probation periods and being able to dismiss employees with a 3 day warning, only.

            I don’t know how does labor law work in China but the contract should not go against the law guidelines.
            e.g. Both parts can agree on a no probation period, but they can not agree in a probation period that has its maximum length institutionalized by law.

  27. As by my experience for release letter, id advise make contact with local civil affairs department and their one call can bring the employer in line, in case if you are on the right side and innocent.
    Show them the law by which the employer is obliged to give the cancellation letter.

    Another way is get the release letter ready in your hand before closing the work permit then for closing the work permit you the documents should be taken to the SAFEA, so better not to handover the card early to the school instead go along with them to the SAFEA office where the closing is done and they will stamp a work permit cancellation letter and give it, now here you can say that letter belongs to you infront of the SAFEA so that you take the original and give a copy to the employer.

  28. HI,

    I have not worked in China as yet, however, a school I previously applied at had too many red flags, a big one, was the agent telling me to arrive in China with a tourist visa and then applying for my work visa when I arrive there. I told the school that I was not interested anymore and would be looking for another school.
    I applied for another school and thankfully got the job, had to resubmit all my paperwork and this was successful, however, when my new school tried to load my documents on the government system to apply for my invitation letter, they realised that the application from the previous school was still on the system.
    I have tried to contact the agent who helped me before and the team that assisted me to apply for the visa, but they are refusing to do the work, they are saying that the school is refusing to issue my cancellation letter.

    What can I do now?
    Who do I report this to?
    I really would appreciate all your help.

    1. The name of the school is Derui, and it’s in Hebei Province and the name of the agency that was ‘helping me’ is Harry Gice Kids Club, now none of the agents are answering my calls or responding to my messages or the messages from my new school.

      It’s extremely frustrating.

      1. Hi Vicky – sorry this happened. Unfortunately, Im not sure if you have any good options – you can lean on the new school to get involved and talk to the old one, they can oftentimes have better luck than a foreigner. Or, you can contact SAFEA and complain but that often takes time and is very difficult if you don’t know Chinese and are not in the country. I wish I had more suggestions, sorry, please let us know how it turns out.

        1. My 2 year contract ends in July. Unfortunately I had a dispute with the principal about teaching practices and asked for a meeting with the owner. Te principal, who has a lot of influence, put me on suspension until we can have the requested meeting with the owner, stating it’s because he thinks, I refuse to adhere to his rule. Prior to this I was always complimented on my professionalisms and experience. I’m worried that the owners, in agreeing with the suspension without my input, has already decided to release me from y contract. The meeting is only in 2 weeks time. What should the next step forward be. I would like to get employment in China again thus want to make sure that I follow correct procedures

          1. Hi Cecelia – you can always transfer your visa to another employer – if you think this current school might let you go then Id play it safe and start getting your docs in order and looking at other options, this way you are prepared if they do in fact let you go.

      2. Hi Vicky! I’m having same problem right now. The agency says he can’t cancel the process until its done. He won’t pick my calls or reply. Let me know if you find any solution. I will let you know if I did

  29. Hello, I have arrived to china 9 days ago to work with a school but the conditions were terrible and they didn’t offer anything that they promised. After I left today the priy sent me a msgs saying that the notifies the police and I can’t work I China anymore, is this true or does she only wants to scare me. And I’m only on business visa and they promised me to help me with the work visa but nothing worked. Can they still prevent me from working in china even thou we didn’t do any legal contract?

    1. Hi Rashes – sorry about this situation. My thoughts are that you should be fine given that you were on a business visa, but I can’t say for certain. Are you saying you didnt even have a contract? If so you should be ok – Id just look for a new employer that can offer a Z visa and make sure to explain the situation to them in full so they can help.

  30. Hi Quincy I’m currently living in China and working I have a Z visa and residency permit recently there has been a lot of problems with my school. I am employed and have a contract with my agency where I signed but my school is saying I also have a contract with them when shown this contract it is not my signature but just my name written down as normal I did tell them that this is not my signature which they then said they have permission to sign on my behalf and my agent gave them permission which my agent did not!!… They failed to also pay my agents which then I almost left in September by my agents instructions after a lot of back and forth the school sent a legal document saying that they would pay by a certain date and if they failed my agents could immediately stop cooperation with them it is now November and the school failed to pay my agents have sent a letter to stop cooperation immediately with them… The boss and director have had me in the office trying to get me to sign with them directly but I will not do this they tried again to say I have a contract with them and once again I said no I don’t I only have a contract with my agents that day I received a message saying that they would be canceling my visa and residency permit and I would have to leave China I already have a new job lined up!!… My agents have told me that I can stop going to there school from Wednesday and go and stay by a friend for a couple of days… Would like to know does the school have any legitimate leg to stand on??… My visa was done through my agency!

    1. Hi Ryan – lots of moving parts here so Ill do my best. In short, you should have had a contract with your school – having one with the agency is not the correct way of doing things. This is likely due to your school not being able to hire foreign teachers and I doubt they have much control here – Id confirm everything with your agency and see about your options, it sounds like they got burned too and will likely be willing to help you to recoup some cost from a different school.

  31. Hello, I want to quit as soon as possible because due an emergency I have to go back home. The problem is that my passport is still on the PSB because a few weeks ago I had no idea I would have to go back home and I was renewing my residence permit. So I’m planning to quit tomorrow because I can’t wait even a week, but I’m afraid that my boss won’t give me the release letter, she probably will argue that my passport is still on the PSB so they can’t cancel my resident permit or something like that. And by the way, I think I already overstayed 2 weeks of my residence permit because the psb still don’t give me my passport back. So what should I do now?

    1. Hi Marie – this is a conversation you need to have with your boss, you obviously need to get your passport back and only they can help facilitate that.

  32. Good day
    Please advise.

    I arrived in China on the 07 November 2019 and I was meant to start teaching on the 09th. Upon arrival I was taken to the school’s apartment. The apartment was Horrid and disgusting to say the least. I down right refused to stay they and reported to my agent and booked myself into a hotel. I informed my agent whom a day later of failed negotiations with the school notified me that she will be transferring me to a different school day province and I should move once I’ve received all my paperwork from the current school. I have started at the new school on the 29 November 2019, and to date I still don’t have any of my documents (Permit /residency). Unfortunately I am not happy with the new school as well as I am the only English teacher , with 4 classes every of about 30 children. Upon my arrival at the school I was sent straight to start teaching with absolutely no induction. No body t the school speaks English , nobody has showed me anything or what they do on a daily basis , I literally have to find my own way and I’m a loner most of the time. The school accommodation is “okay” but to fate I have not received a refrigerator, microwave, tv , kettle amongst other things. And most importantly I haven’t received my documents from the old school. My visa expires this weekend 07 December 2019 and I have been informed by my agent that I have to travel to the old school again which is is the northern part and I am now in the South to complete my residency certificate. I spoke to my parents about this and they want me to leave and return home (I want the same as well, as I am exhausted from all the trauma, stress, excess money’ ). I wanted to know will it be wise thing for me to up and leave (like as in Tomorrow)? Will customs require a letter from my school or can I just book my flight back home and leave? Please note that after this I have absolutely no intention of ever returning to China.

    1. Wow, this is a tough situation and Im sorry you’re in the middle of it. The good news is that as long as you have your passport and have not overstayed your visa you can leave whenever you want without penalty. If you have your passport but have overstayed your visa then you can still leave but might have to pay a fine – this will be up to the immigration office at the airport. Hope this helps!

      1. Hello Quincy

        Thank you for the response. I’m happy to inform you that I received my passport from the school and booked myself an overnight flight out of China. I’m now back in my home country and I did not encounter any issues at immigration. My word of advice to anyone wanting to go to China please use a reputable agency that has offices back home and overseas offering guidance and advice at all times. And you will not believe that on my last day at the school they had forced me to sign a new contract with a reduced income, more hours and overtime that was non negotiable. But I’m glad that the worst is over.

        1. Hi Mbali I’m glad everything worked out for you. Which agency did you use ? I’m assuming you’re from SA

  33. I think I may have lost my cancellation letter received from my school when leaving them. I only have a copy of the the original. Is it possible for me to get another one at the Foreign Affairs Labor Bureau? If so, how long would it take and what would the process be like?

    1. Hi Adrian – not sure on this – have you considered asking your former school? They should know if it’s possible as they used the system to cancel it in the first place.

  34. I have been offered a new job so I will need to leave my current contract 6 weeks early. I have given them 2.5 months notice but they tell me I’ll have to pay 20,000 rmb for leaving early. I’m pretty sure this is illegal but cannot find concrete evidence. Please help!

    1. Id first look in your contract to see if there is a penalty clause for breaking your contract and then contact SAFEA for clarification – Im unsure if it’s legal or illegal but if you signed a contract with a 20k penalty then the burden will likely be on you to fight it.

  35. Local SAFEA will NOT help you. Good luck with that. I tried in 2 different cities when I had issues with employers. They will just tell you to solve the problem with the employer or something like that. They will not lift a finger to help you.

    If Shanghai and Jiangsu SAFEA official websites are not even working, what can you expect? China does not give a damn about foreign teachers.

  36. What happened if I already leave China without the release letter?
    I didn’t do a midnight run, I just told my employer I didn’t want to work for them anymore, she said it was ok and was veru sympathetic, they scanned my passport and submitted my resident permit in ordee to give me the releaae letter, but I couldn’t wait much longer because I already had bought a very expensive one-way ticket home so I just left. The thing is that I really would like to come back but to another city but I’ve heard that if I don’t have that release letter it would be impossible for me go do so. My employer said there wouldn’t be any problems (which means she’s not 100% sure) and that I didn’t need to process the release letter on the first place because I didn’t leave the company on bad terms. Is this true?

    1. Hi Julie – glad to hear you had a sympathetic employer! As far as we know you can always start the visa process over again – the release letter is mainly used to facilitate the transfer of all documents so you don’t need to start from scratch. Still, if you find a new job you can certainly ask them – they will know best on what they need to move forward.

  37. Say, for example, that you’re partway through your contract and things are going well. You like your colleagues and students, and you’ve scored well on all of your performance reviews. However, something comes up unexpectedly and you need to urgently return home. You won’t be able to complete your contract. In this situation, the best thing to do is to be honest with your employer and tell them the situation. Explain that you need to leave to go home. Maintain open and clear communication with them, help them to find a replacement if necessary, and assist with the transition. Since you’ve maintained a positive relationship with the school, they should give you a release letter and positive recommendation with no problem.

    1. They have to give you a release letter by law, but yes, if you leave on good terms then they should give you a good recommendation as well.

    2. To get the transfer work permit since this agency ( jilin tianshuo education) have stolen my attested criminal record document, my new employer had to pay them 24,000 rmb to cancel the work permit, which I will now have to pay my new school from my salary ($3000). I am from the UK. Well, I was victimised+ harassed by my male recruiter/ manager upon arrival and the agency owner, a woman Named, Maggi, then cancelled me in the school, even though the school wanted me to work there. The next month, they promised me I would start work fulltime, as per the contract, but played with me, and only paid me 1 teaching hour per day, but I had to attend school 3-4 hrs per day still. It’s awful, since they broke their contract, and yet are able to blackmail me! I went to foreign affairs office, not sure if this is SEPA you talk of?? Anyway, seems the woman there knows the agency and was reluctant to take a complaint. She also told me dont bother with a lawyer, its gonna cost you $1K ! All this happened because of this recruiter… his name is Elvis Qi …if anyone would kindly share. The agency is in Jilin, northern China.

  38. Hi I signed a contract initially but then the day before they applied for my work permit I withdrew . Now the school is blackmailing me and refusing to cancel their online application for the notification of work permit so that my new school can apply for me online. What should I do?

    1. Hi Lisa – if you are already in China you can try and get SAFEA involved on your behalf. If you’re not in China then you can either try and get a new school to help OR consider paying them.

      1. Hey Quincy,
        I’m in a bit of a pickle. I am leaving my job in Beijing early due to my boss going crazy and firing employees without warning. I told her I would finish the semester (60 days) breaking my contract but this is due to her not following my contract. She then tells me she will destroy my career in China and will never give me my work release permit, she is very vindictive and another previous employee has already taken her to court for not releasing his work permit, it took 6 months. I have another employer lined up but they have no idea what to do if she doesn’t release my work permit. What should I do? I am at the point now where she doesn’t even want to negotiate any longer and only sends me vitriol how she is not a little school girl and will destroy any chances in china saying I will never work in china again. I can send you the WeChat logs it’s insane.

        1. Hi Garrison – sorry to hear about this. So my first advice is to always inform the new school, which it sounds like you’ve done. If they can’t help then your next option is going the legal way – she is legally obligated to give you your release letter + docs – you can try to involve SAFEA (I actually thinkt they go by another name now but can’t recall what) but that is a shot in the dark too. What about finding a lawyer to help? You’ll have to pay but it could show her that you’re serious.

          1. Thanks Quincy, I’ll keep you posted on what happens in the future. I currently have a lawyer and hopefully something can be done.

        2. Garrison, the exact same thing has happened to me!! (sort of)
          I left in late Jan due to my employer refusing to pay my salary because of covid and the wechats she sent me since are just full of blackmail saying she will tell the government I am such a bad worker so I can never come back!! Seems these Chinese employers can be very nasty. I hope I can still work in China again in the future it was really such a horrible experience to be honest.

  39. Hello. What happens if your former employer cancels your work permit due to negative reasons (out of spite). Would one still be able to reapply for a new work visa in their country ?

  40. Hi there, I’m also falling into this trap. I wanted to resign at my work after 2 loyal years, just wanted to experience something new again. My school convinced me to stay with the promise of a higher salary if I sign for 2 years. That has not happened, and the school was partially sold off. Now, having new shareholders, they refuse to pay me what was agreed upon, yet also refusing to let me leave. My z visa expires at the end of this year, but my work contract expires end of next year. It’s becoming a toxic work environment and I desperately want to leave. What do you think is my best option to get out of this? Disappearing overnight when they attempt to renew my visa? Or just make things worse in general,, being “lazy” or careless and arguing over everything? I’m not that kind of a person but I tried talking and begging to just let me go, yet they refuse, I’m desperate to try anything that could get me out.

    1. Hi J – do you have a contract with the new salary? If so, lawyer up and get professional help. Id advise against disappearing unless you’ll be leaving China for good as it could cause more visa headaches later on.

  41. Hi, Quincy!

    I’ve read all the comments and saw many people in the same situation as I am: no release letter, but I’m out of China and my work permit expired. However, when refusing to give me the release letter, manager said that the company doesn’t exist anymore, so even if they wanted to, they couldn’t provide me any documents, related to my work permit.
    So here’s my question: might there be any negative consequences if I’ve worked in a company that was shut down?
    And another one, in case all the shut down things aren’t true. If they want to give me my work permit cancellation letter and release letter, will they be able to get them a year after my permit expired? Or if they didn’t do it right away, there’s no way of getting those documents?

    1. Hi Jason – schools close all the time in China and I don’t think you’ll be at any risk for having worked at one. The downside is that they aren’t likely to be able to give you the docs they need as they are no longer in business – I’d confirm with your new potential employer but I think you can just start the visa process over again even without a release letter.

  42. Hi
    I have a contract with my company but I’m planning to quit after my contract expires because we have failed to agree on the salary but I have one huge problem my contract and visa expires at the same day while the work permit permit will end the coming month yet I had got someone to help me renew my visa before the one I have expires
    But my company has my passport and there is no way I can get access to it
    Contract expires 20/11/2020
    Visa expires 20/11/2020
    Work permit 15/12/2020
    And I wanted to stay in China and get a job somewhere else where they can pay me some good money
    What advise would you give me?

    1. Why does your company have your passport? They have no right to hold it unless they are arranging something with your visa, etc. If I were you, Id insist on getting my passport back or find a new job who can step in on your behalf.

  43. Hi in January I was admitted into a school here in china whiles I was back home. I went to the embassy in my country to apply for the visa after I was accepted in to the school and I automatically got a six months visa to study Chinese language. In 2020 January I came to China with my six month visa . But I couldn’t register into the school I was accepted because of at that time the COVID 19 had just started and I never attended any classes or able to register as a Student in the school. I am currently on resident permit visa and I am currently applying for a work permit because I opened a company. I will be going to apply for my work permit and among my documents they requested I bring school leave letter which I don’t have it and they school can’t give it to me because I wasn’t able to register as a student when I arrived in China. So I want to ask how do I go about this because I am afraid May be I might be refused because of the school leave letter I don’t have. Please help

    1. Hi Gloria – this post discusses work release letters, not study letters. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about getting letters from schools where you studied (or didn’t study, in this case) – sorry!

      1. Hi, I’ve worked at the same school in jiangsu province, china for many years. I have handed my notice in and intend to leave at the end of the academic year. My school are being very difficult and will not give me a release letter or police clearance certificate.
        1. Will I be able to accept a job/ get a work visa in Hong Kong without a release letter?
        2. Is it possible for me to obtain a police clearance certificate without the support of the school?

        1. I don’t believe the police letter will be an issue but you should ask your new school in HK if you need a release letter or not.

  44. Hi there everyone.

    I have been working with EF since before the pandemic started. I came back to the UK in January 2020 for what was supposed to be only a month’s visit. Obviously, things changed and so I never went back to China.

    My contract ended 3rd of January 2021 – and now my residence permit and my visa have long expired. Given that these are now expired, and so has my official contract (I now only work for EF on an hourly basis as an independent contractor), then does that mean that the technicality of the release letter does not apply to me, and that the whole process will start over again when I apply for a new teaching job outside of China (and thusly the new visa)?

    Thanks, and your urgent answer is appreciated. Thanks, please someone help.

    1. I believe it depends on where you will apply – Ive seen employers ask for references and release letters from old jobs so it’s probably a good idea to try and get one if you can.

  45. Hi guys,
    I am thinking of working in China again. I was last working from December 2019-January 2020 (I know short). So, when covid hit I got really scared I was only 23 at the time, all alone and decided to come home, however I always had the intention to come back to China when things got better. Then my employer held my salary and said I can have it when I come back to China which obviously I found upsetting and this created a lot of tension whereby she started to blackmail me and say things such as if you don’t come back I will tell the Chinese authorities you are a bad worker so you can never return to China. The classes continued online and I when I offered to do the classes they said I was not needed… It felt like once *hit hit the fan in terms of covid they realised they were not going to be a profitable business keeping me who was on a native speaker salary and were trying to push me away by blackmailing me all. They kept saying I broke the contract by leaving so there is nothing I can ever do to get back to China.

    So basically my question is will I be able to get back into China if they have written to the Chinese authorities saying I am a bad worker which is 100% a lie, by hanging onto the fact that I broke my contract by leaving in the covid period or is there hope still since this was during covid and a lot of people may be in this boat?

    I’ve seen some other people were put in this situation so I’m sorry to hear this… it is so awful. There is nothing lower than somebody who resorts to lying, threatening and blackmail to manipulate the situation.

    1. Hi James – tough situation indeed. So this will depend on where you want to work and what your new employer says they will need – your previous contract is already expired (assuming it was for a year) but many schools will want a release letter from your old employer. This could prove hard to get but your new school can probably help once you explain everything.

  46. Hi everyone. Hope things are going well out there. Here is a question. Our WP and RP expires on may 20th. We’ve mentioned in the contract that these documents: cancellation, release, recommendation letters along with our diplomas, must be given to us one month prior to our contract’s expiration date ,which means on April 20th. ??? Do we need to submit the resignation letter in order to get those abovementioned documents? the original authenticated diploma was not given back to us. The school claimed that the FEB did need to keep the real hard authenticated copy of diploma.
    I have heard that the labor bureau may come in handy when it comes to leaving)) has anyone experienced the help of the labor bureau. thanks ! 🙏

  47. Hello, my residence permit expires July 1st, I gave my company everything they need to get me my release documents on June 1st. Today it’s June 21st and still no progress. I am pretty sure they are doing this on purpose. I met the boss, he said we’ll do it don’t worry 12 days ago. Still no progress. Now he doesn’t reply. I wanted to file a complaint with SAFEA but the link takes me somewhere where there is no option to file a complaint. How to file a complaint and get help from them?

    1. Hi Rishi – we don’t have any contact information for SAFEA but if you have another job then you can try and get them involved – they should at least be able to help you find the correct office to request help.

  48. My new employer was not truthful about the location of the new school. I am refusing to go to the new location. They are saying that I should pay damages. I haven’t even started working for them. They are refusing to give me my documents these include my authenticated documents and degrees. They are no longer replying to my messages. I have already sent a message to SAFEA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Made with love by ESL Authority