Never Pay for a TEFL Job or Placement – Scams

Hopefully you know this already – but in the TEFL world – YOU are the HOT Commodity.    Not the job.

In fact, one of the most pleasing things about jobs teaching English is that you are in demand and interviews only rarely have that demeaning dehumanizing torture aspect that they have in most Western countries, where you are half expected to beg for the job you are applying for.

You are in demand!

Start with that assumption, especially if you have a degree and some TEFL training.  Add a little experience and you are SUPER in demand.

Now a caveat if I may . . . I am not one who looks for scams and I think it is a really negative attitude to always be looking for them.  But I will – here – detail one relatively common scam that goes on, so you can be aware and not fall victim.

A friend/teacher from South Africa ran into this one.  A nice job with very good wages is offered in advertising.  You apply, but don’t get a response and if you do – it is negative.  Later you get a surprise response that now you are wanted, but you must apply in a hurry – right now!

So – now you are excited and hurrying to apply and things are moving forward very quickly.   One small hitch shows up though and you need to send US$500 to the school/recruiter/placement officer to pay for your “work permit” and “working visa” – RED FLAG!  NEVER send money to a school, recruiter, placement officer – ever.

My friend carefully asked for some verification that the person was the person/company they said they were and were send a scan of a very nice and official document noting their license in the country where they were operating.  Big warning sign here – most of the document was in English – but the official language of the country was not English!

Needless to say, once the money was sent, she never heard from that school again.

Now – understand – you will often need to pay for your visa and working papers depending on the country in which you will be working.  However, you will always pay those funds directly to immigration, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Education or other relevant agencies of the government.  NOT to a school or person via email and/or through Western Union.   And only rarely with the cost of such paper work exceed US$100.   A few countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are more expensive.  Typically expensive countries are where very good wages are on offer.

TED’s Tips™ #1:  NEVER pay anyone for your job.  The demand is great enough that you don’t need to.