By Michael G Hines International Man Many nati

first_imgBy Michael G. Hines, International Man Many native speakers of English are considering a fulfilling career as language educators in Asia. This is not surprising at all, given the high demand for ESL/EFL (English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language) teachers in the thriving economies of the region and the reeling job market at home. In fact, quite a number of people from the US, UK, Australia, and other English-speaking countries have already made the decision to leave their home nations and seek more satisfying careers elsewhere in Asia. There are additional benefits to teaching English to Asian learners on top of the generally decent monetary compensation. The experience of living in exotic locations and becoming personally immersed in distinctive socio-cultural environments are bonuses that can be worth much more than the financial aspects of the arrangement. If you intend to teach English in an Asian city or town, you may do so as a short-term digression from your usual career just to try out the unique experience, or you may decide to come on board for the long haul. If that’s the case, securing permanent residency status in the particular country in which you wish to teach will be a priceless advantage that you should diligently pursue. Different Asian countries impose different sets of requirements on foreigners seeking permanent residency status. Most offer work visas to individuals who are specialists in a designated area, and these work visas can lead to residency. Teaching is one of these specialist jobs for which nearly every Asian country will issue a work visa. Some countries even have their own work visas strictly for teaching. When you go as a teacher, you can stay as long as your work visa is valid (as with any country and any career). Additionally, many opt into other careers after having relocated as a teacher, since the process of obtaining a work visa is then much easier. This also allows for a local job search once in country. NOTE: If your goal is to gain permanent residency in an Asian country, there are several ways to do so in each jurisdiction. For example, you’ll notice in many of the countries below, one way to get residency is to marry someone and become a citizen. HOWEVER, if that is the only reason for the marriage, it is considered a crime. In most cases, you must contribute to the society of your new country and show “financial stability,” which usually means having a job and/or money. Each country defines these terms in their own way and on a case-by-case basis. If you do intend on getting residency in any of the countries below, do your own due diligence and enlist the services of a professional who can help you. COUNTRY SPECIFICS Based on my experience and research, I have compiled the following list of Asian countries where demand for ESL/EFL educators is high. As of this writing, these are the basic guidelines for gaining permanent residency status in each of these countries. More specific details may be obtained by researching the immigration agency of the particular country in which you have an interest (see Editor’s Note below). BRUNEI This small but oil-rich country is located on the island of Borneo. ESL and EFL teachers who wish to relocate to this welcoming and peaceful state will be living just a stone’s throw away from rainforests and the sea. The population is small with an active expatriate community of Brits and Aussies as well as a sprinkling of other Western groups. The sultanate government actively seeks native English speakers to educate the public. The following persons of foreign nationalities may apply for permanent residency status: A woman who has been married to a Bruneian citizen for at least two years and who has been residing in Brunei for at least the same amount of time A woman who has been married to a man with a Permanent Residency status for at least five years and who has been residing in Brunei for at least the same amount of time A man who is married to a Bruneian citizen A child at least two years old and living in Brunei for at least the same period and whose mother is a Bruneian citizen A child at least two years and six months old and living in Brunei for at least the same period and whose father is a permanent resident Investors and professionals who contribute to the country’s economy To become a permanent resident of Brunei, foreigners must first secure an International Certificate of Identity (ICI), which requires the following documents:    1. Original and a copy of Identity Card    2. Original and a copy of the birth certificate    3. Original and a copy of the Resident Permit    4. Three passport-sized photos    5. Copy of the passport CHINA In addition to opening up its economy, China is also widening its doors for the entry of tourists, investors, and professionals who wish to contribute to and profit from its fast-paced development. English teachers, in particular, are in demand due to the preference of the growing middle class to have their children tutored by native English speakers. Foreigners who intend to acquire permanent residency in China must follow Chinese laws, as well as acquire medical certification and relevant law enforcement clearances. The following foreign nationals may apply for residency: An investor who has directly infused funds into a local company and has been doing favorable business in the country for more than three years A professional who has assumed any of the following positions, has good revenue records and who has been living in China for at least three years: – Assistant general manager – Factory director – Associate professor – Assistant researcher A person recognized by the government as one who rendered exceptional and outstanding contributions or service to China The spouse and unmarried children (less than 18 years old) of persons that meet the qualifications of numbers 1, 2, or 3 A person married to a Chinese citizen or a permanent resident for more than five years and who is living in China for at least 9 months in a year. The person should have a guaranteed source of livelihood Note that individuals who wish to maintain permanent residency status should stay in China at least three months in a year or at least one year in five. Otherwise the status will be revoked. JAPAN The exotic culture, cosmopolitan cities, advanced technology and natural wonders of Japan make it an excellent choice for individuals who intend to teach English as a second or foreign language. While there is still a recession, the demand for qualified English teachers is significant, and enterprising professionals can still reap the rewards of working in Japan. Gaining permanent resident status in Japan, however, is not easy. Unless a foreigner is a spouse of a Japanese citizen or has contributed greatly to Japanese society, a foreigner must exhibit lawful behavior, possess sufficient assets or abilities, and reside in Japan for at least ten consecutive years. This time frame is reduced if one meets the following requirements: Marry a Japanese and stay married for at least five years Secure a certification from a Japanese employer to show that you have a steady job Provide an annual earnings form to show that you possess financial stability Provide a family register form that indicates your relationships with your spouse and your dependents Fill out additional government forms and pay tax stamps and other associated fees MALAYSIA Malaysia offers quite a number of exotic delights to people who wish to work as ESL/EFL (English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language) educators in the country. Its urban settings are modern and cosmopolitan while its countryside contains some of the richest flora and fauna in the world. To become a permanent resident in Malaysia, a foreigner must meet the following qualifications:  At least five years of continuous residency in the country via a legal Entry Permit.  Foreign men who marry Malaysian citizens need to reside in Malaysia for at least 10 years before they can acquire permanent residency status. The following documents are required for permanent residency applications, and must be submitted to the Visa, Permit and Pass Division for processing: Passport Form IMM 4 Two ID photographs (3.5 cm x 5.0 cm) An ID photograph if there is a Malaysian sponsor (3.5 cm x 5.0 cm) Identity Card of spouse (if applicable) Marriage certificate (if applicable) Other supporting documents [Editors Note: For more information about Malaysia, check out our “Beginner’s Guide to Malaysia” – available to members of the International Man Network. If you’re not a member, click here to join the IM Network for free.] PHILIPPINES Composed of more than 7,100 islands, the Philippine archipelago is an Asian paradise of beaches, mountains, and coral reefs. It is also home to a welcoming people, known for their warmth and hospitality. Any native English speaker who wishes to teach in the Philippines may apply for permanent residency status. You may obtain residency if you are:    1. Married to a Filipino citizen, or    2. A Returning former Filipino citizen Or, you may apply for one of the following visas: Special Retiree’s Visa (this is for Americans, 35 years and over, who wish to stay indefinitely in the country) Special Investors Resident Visa (this is available to foreigners who invest in profitable economic activities in the country, including those related to tourism) Quota Immigrant Visa (this is granted yearly to fifty Americans who seek permanent residence in the country but do not meet the basic criteria) SOUTH KOREA An economic and cultural powerhouse, South Korea is among the best countries to work in as an ESL educator. The pay is good and the fringe benefits – including a wide array of tourist spots and ultra-modern amenities – are quite compelling. However, becoming a permanent resident is a steep climb over a mountain of strict immigration laws. Most foreigners are not eligible for Korean citizenship, or permanent residency, unless they are literally marrying into the culture or have invested quite a lot of money (at least US$ 4 to 5 million) in the local economy. Exceptions include foreigners who are recognized by the Justice Ministry for outstanding non-monetary contributions to Korean society, as well as business-visa-holding foreigners who have already invested more than US$ 500,000 in the economy. The following people may apply for permanent residency: Overseas Koreans with F4 visas (Applicants belonging to this category have to meet specific salary and property tax requirements. They also need to reside in Korea for more than two years.) Ethnic Chinese born in Korea Foreign investors (these foreigners must invest at least US$500,000 and employ more than five Korean citizens) Foreign spouses of Korean nationals THAILAND Thailand is increasingly becoming a popular retirement haven or second home to many Westerners. This is because it offers a rich blend of culture, natural charm and highly affordable cost of living. As a result, its immigration laws are some of the most attractive anywhere in the region. If you intend to work and stay in Thailand indefinitely, it is best to secure permanent residency status. These are the qualifications you must meet: You must be a holder of a Thai non-immigrant visa for the last three years or more You must be a holder of a Thai non-immigrant visa at the time of the application You must belong to one of the following categories: Foreign Investor who has invested a minimum of 3 to 10 million baht in the Thai economy (equivalent to US $100,000 – $350,000) Worker or Business category Closely related (as spouse, parent, or guardian) to a Thai citizen or a person with permanent resident status in Thailand Professional or Expert category Other categories established by the government Once the application for permanent resident status is approved, a residence blue book will be issued to the applicant. VIETNAM Vietnam is becoming one of the most interesting places to work as an English language instructor. Its thriving tourism industry, the increasing purchasing power of its urban populations and its more active involvement in global business are reinforcing the demand for ESL/EFL educators in the country. Eligible foreigners may apply for permanent residency status at the Department of Immigration Control if they meet any of these criteria: A foreigner who is unrightfully oppressed for noble causes (people’s freedom or independence, democracy, socialism, peace, or scientific causes) A foreigner who made outstanding contributions toward the building and protection of Vietnam The spouse, child, or parent of a Vietnamese citizen who is residing permanently in Vietnam CHOOSE YOUR OWN PATH For native English speakers who are serious about having a career as language educators, Asia remains the best employment destination. However, acquiring permanent residency status is a must for ESL/EFL teachers who are in for the long haul. This will allow them to work for longer periods without constantly worrying about their immigration status, in addition to enjoying most of the rights and privileges of full citizens. For others who simply want to do some globetrotting while seeking their own personal paradise, working as an ESL/EFL teacher may be a means of paying one’s way around the world. Finally, for those who know they want to settle in an Asian country, entering as an ESL/EFL teacher can be the first step toward becoming a permanent resident. You decide which path is right for you. EDITOR’S NOTE: The author, Michael G. Hines, is an educator living in Thailand with 10+ years teaching abroad experience. He is also the owner of Icon Group Thailand, a group of ESL websites offering a wealth of teaching abroad information for English teachers, schools and students around the world, with a focus on Asia: Total ESL, TEFL Jobs Overseas, ESL Articles, ESL Space, ESL Newsletter For further information regarding the specific immigration rules of each country covered today, you may want to visit these sites:  BRUNEI:” alt=”last_img” />

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