Can you privately tutor in HK without a work visa?

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  1. #1

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    Can you privately tutor in HK without a work visa?

    I've recently signed a two year contract with a language center and they applied for my work visa. After a few weeks the Immigration Department got back to them saying they want more info on my teaching experience. Only problem is I have only three months private tutoring (alongside a degree and TEFL).

    So firstly, is it actually illegal to be private tutoring without a visa? I was not aware of the legality of it all, but I would've thought it was harmless, especially due to the fact that it's aiding my experience in the field.

    If it is okay, I can ask the parents of the kids I tutor to write me a reference letter.

    If not, I'll just have to tell them I have no experience. Ho hum.

    I'm 24, living in HK with my g/f who is a HK resident I met when she was studying in England. We plan to settle down in HK (marriage isn't on the cards... quite yet) and i'm looking to make a go in the teaching field after finding it nigh impossible to get an I.T. job (my major) here.

    I have financial support from my father and my g/f has financial support from her family, so we aren't looking to cut any corners. Just trying to be fine, young, upstanding citizens.


  2. #2

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    My old flatmate told me she knew a guy who taught English on a visitor visa exemption to support himself for six months. The likelyhood of you being caught is very slim but the consequences can be very severe. You'll be put in jail for three years and the person who employs you can be put in jail for up to ten years.

    There's no visa that will really allow you to take up employment freely unless you have a dependant visa sponsored by a permanent resident or an investment visa. These visas have no other conditions of stay other than duration. There's no other way to really make this legal unless you have the Right of abode or Right to land in Hong Kong from what I know.

    I know many people who teach English in Taiwan and Japan on contract with their employers. They still teach privately under the table. I doubt there's any way they can really catch you but if you do this in Hong Kong though, I'd put more consideration into it since the consequences for illegal employment are very severe.

    Last edited by Aritaurus; 02-04-2008 at 02:50 AM.

  3. #3

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    turnjet

    I sympathise as I went through the exact same thing as yourself 3 years ago, exact same circumstances and I did TEFL as I couldn't get an IT job back then.

    Meet up for a beer when I'm back in HK next week and talk more.

    Oh and don't even think about doing private tuition as if you're caught or found out then you're in deep doodoo.

    as regards to the further info which they need then try and pad out your c.v and expand on any coaching or training you did in your I.T roles, But obviously don't lie.


  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aritaurus:
    There's no visa that will really allow you to take up employment freely unless you have a dependant visa sponsored by a permanent resident or an investment visa.
    Er, no - any Dependant Visa except those Dependant on someone on a Study Visa gives you the right to work freely.

    And to the OP, yes, it is clearly illegal. But it is also illegal to "live in Hong Kong" as you state you are doing without a visa. So why worry about matters of legality now?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Er, no - any Dependant Visa except those Dependant on someone on a Study Visa gives you the right to work freely.
    Ah, that's right. I forgot about that.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the clarification guys. I'll see what I can do about referring back to previous jobs I had in the UK despite not being quite related to teaching.


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by turnjet:
    Thanks for the clarification guys. I'll see what I can do about referring back to previous jobs I had in the UK despite not being quite related to teaching.
    doesn't matter if its not quite related to teaching, you need to play up your coaching/training/user interaction skills and experience to help you in your visa application.

  8. #8

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    Out of curiosity, you know in case I do go back to private tutoring once my visa is sorted; I was charging $100 an hour for a lesson. Now, as i'm new to teaching and relatively young (24 ), I thought this was reasonable.

    I also have a degree in Business Computing and a TEFL certificate, but some people say $100 is well below the amount I should of asked for. More in the region of $200-$300.

    I would've thought if I was living on HK island, then sure; but Tung Chung isn't really a mecca for the upper class. Perhaps $150 would've been reasonable.

    Last edited by turnjet; 25-04-2008 at 03:02 AM.

  9. #9

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    you're right anything below $200 is ridiculous, for a qualified teacher with experience then its in the region of $300, ultimately it does depend on the area as well but you should be able to get that in tung chung, The key is to get yourself known and obtain referrals, too cheap and people will steer clear and of course too high and you're pricing yourself out, $200-$300 is fine to start with.


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo:
    you're right anything below $200 is ridiculous, for a qualified teacher with experience then its in the region of $300, ultimately it does depend on the area as well but you should be able to get that in tung chung, The key is to get yourself known and obtain referrals, too cheap and people will steer clear and of course too high and you're pricing yourself out, $200-$300 is fine to start with.
    Thanks for the advice. Shouldn't be long before my work visa clears at the language center and if that doesn't work out, I can turn back to private tutoring. I had about 12 students before and was doing around 20 hours a week, so was making a tidy $2k a week. If I can get those students back on $200 an hour, i'd be making the same as the language center on half the hours!

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