Agency wants to report a lower monthly salary to the tax authorities

One of my friends has asked for my advice, but I don’t have experience with agencies and cram schools here. I’d really appreciate your advice on this matter.

My friend found an agency that got him a job offer at a cram school. From the beginning, the agent kept pressing him to bring his documents for the work permit. I told him not to deliver anything until he had a contract and fully understood the terms of his employment. However, the agent sent him a “contract” in Chinese that he needed to sign, and it just declared that he was employed with the school for a certain number of hours per week and reported his monthly salary as 10,000 less than he’d really make, according to their verbal agreement. I say verbal agreement because he still hasn’t received a contract regarding the terms of his employment. I told him not to sign the former document and ask the agent about the salary declaration. The agent said it’s for my friend’s benefit because he’d get more of his salary every month. The agent also made it seem like it was totally fine. What should he do about this?

After probing, the agent revealed that he’d be collecting my friend’s pay on his behalf and retaining a “small amount” of his hourly pay per hour. Essentially, he won’t be paid directly by the school and the rate they offered him is not the full amount the school actually pays per hour. We’re still not certain of how “small” the amount they retain is. Is this common?

The agent still insists on asking him to deliver his documents for the work permit. I feel quite uneasy about this arrangement and believe that the rush to bring his documents is some sort of trap. What are your thoughts?

I think you know the answer already - it clearly isn’t wise to sign something without knowing the full details, and the fact that the agent is insisting on that without being willing to give that info is a definite red flag. I’d leave it, no question.

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Thank you. I told him it feels shady, but there are other people telling him to “just make the money.”

That’s fine, but obviously he should be aware of how much money he stands to make and the other details of the job so he can make an informed decision haha

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Eh.no! This is a bad deal.for him.

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I’d also strongly advise against signing anything offered by this agent.
Omitting income from the ministry of finance is usually something they don’t take well.

Apart from that I would always insist on a contract that states clearly what the job is, how much hours, how high the pay is and in case of the agent, how much he’ll keep. I’d also never agree to be paid by a 3rd party.

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It sounds worse than just tax (and insurance) evasion. The agent is probably planning to use false information in the work permit application, telling the WDA the teacher will work for (and at) business A and not buxiban B. If that’s the case, it means the teacher would be working illegally and could be deported and banned from re-entry (after being fined 150k or whatever it is).

Just say no! :man_judge:

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The agent is a total leach. I know that many agents have been doing this with south East Asian workers and really ripping them off. Never heard of them doing it to an English teacher. They must be desperate or it’s a new agent trying to break into a new field. There are so many desperate schools looking for teachers now, there’s no reason for your friend to be working with an agent. Retaining a “small amount” is total bullshit and I wouldn’t trust this shit for anything. These guys will lie, cheat, and do anything just to rip people off. Tell your friend not to bother with this crap. Unless of course your friend wants to fuck with this agent. Tell your friend to tell the agent that he went to the tax office with the contract and that one of the tax people wants to talk to him. I sort of did something like this with my manager/boss when they tried to explain to me that I didn’t need health insurance (even though we all know it is legally required). I just acted stupid and said, “oh, don’t worry about it. I’ll just go to the health insurance office and get it myself”. The panic that set in was beautiful to watch and i had my card in less than a week.

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Exactly