Teaching English with criminal record?

Hi there,

I am a British student currently studying a business degree in the UK.

Having previous lived in Beijing for 3 years and Taipei for 4 throughout my childhood as my family moved about a lot, I studied Mandarin for 7 years. However, since I’ve returned to the UK I have lost quite a lot of it.

Upon uni graduation I’m thinking about teaching English abroad in China or Taiwan as a job, in a hope to become fluent in Mandarin after 2 years or so.

Unfortunately in the last 2 years I gained a criminal record. To summarise a long story short…
I was arrested for attempting to prevent an office arresting a friend, who I believe was being treated unlawfully at the time. Anyways…

I was convicted of:
Assault on a constable in his/her duty. (Category 3 assault, lowest level)
Assault with intent to resist arrest (my mates arrest, not mine).
Threatening and Abusive language.

I received a £200 quid fine in total and 6 months probation (Basically I couldn’t do anything else wrong in terms of breaking the law otherwise these convictions would come back up). My convictions have become ‘spent’ as it has been a year since the conviction and I only received a fine, and so it becomes spent under the new reforms.

I understand teaching with a criminal record in the UK is a big no no, but how would this type of conviction affect me in getting a work/living visa in China or Taiwan?

Thanks for the help,

China, nope, you won’t get a legal job, Taiwan, they don’t check.

When I worked for Shane (about 10 years ago), they wanted the criminal background check thing. At least I think they did.

Ive never heard of a Buxiban that checked

But don’t they check when you apply for your ARC, which is needed to work legally? Or have the rules changed since a decade ago?

I worked at Hess for a year in 2008. They checked.

One would think a criminal record would be a prerequisite for teaching in Taiwan.

I think you might mean “for employing teachers in Taiwan.”

When they say

required to provide documents issued by their home countries guaranteeing good conduct

it sounds like they mean foreign governments will be held responsible for any “bad conduct” by foreign teachers. As in Johnny was late for work yesterday, so you owe us a better trade deal! :roll:

Apparently, what they actually mean is

require first-time applicants for teaching jobs at private institutions to provide documents proving that they had demonstrated good conduct prior to entering the nation.

While the information in the documents may vary from one nation to another, it should be able to prove that applicants have not committed any crimes within a certain period before they are allowed to enter the nation and begin the interview process, Huang said.

This is proposed as an amendment to the Supplementary Education Act, so even foreigners with work permit exemptions would probably be required to pay for proof of their innocence.

The rule change would not affect foreigners who are already working as teachers at private institutes, who are required to provide Police Criminal Record Certificates issued by the Ministry of the Interior showing that they have not committed any criminal offenses in Taiwan in the three months prior to their employment, she said.

All I can say about that paragraph is I’m confused. :confused:

This is, as you probably guessed, part of the reaction to a certain incident not involving foreigners.

The ministry proposed the amendment amid widespread controversy over the suicide of author Lin Yi-han (林奕含) last month, allegedly due to the trauma she sustained after being raped by a cram-school teacher when she was 17.

Do you actually have a criminal record? What does “spent” mean - your convictions were wiped?

It sounds like your convictions were waived, but I’m not sure. In most western countries, what the police know about you and what they’ll release to third parties are two different things.

I am unsure how a Taiwanese Buxiban would find out about your record. Would they request this?

I worked at Hess and they wanted a criminal record check. That was in 2015.

If you need a normal ARC you don’t need a check. If you want an APRC you do need to get an FBI check (or if you’re a Brit then whatever your equivalent is to a national check). Whether a cram-school (or other private school, business, uni, etc) chooses to do their own check depends on them. But yes, you can teach here even if all doors may not be open. I actually hope Taiwan tightens checks for ARCs like they’ve done in Korea and Japan, so someone with really terrible stuff in their past can’t get work here. But OP didn’t do anything too bad, so I hope things worked out for him.

Not entirely true. If in the 5 years here you haven’t left for more than a certain amount of time on one trip (I think it was 60 or 90 days), then you don’t need a criminal record check from your home country.

90 days. This was in place when I got my APRC, which made the process a lot simpler, but I didn’t really understand the logic: One can get in a good amount of trouble in a short period of time, then “escape” back to Taiwan.

Wow. textbook example of scapegoating foreigners. Nice job, legislators.

It really depends, some are very basic and just require you to go to the local police station to get a paper that says if you have any criminal offences. Some schools that are more elite like TAS used a background check for all the places i’ve been in. Even had to mention I was in China for a summer to study. But that’s a expensive service, most might just make you go get the paper from the police station for 200nt.

Do they really check? Or do they just ask and rely on the cadidate’s honesty?

What kind of check are we talking about? It takes a crazy amount of time (like 12 weeks) to send for and receive back an official FBI check. I can’t see a cram school buggering with all that, even one of the bigger ones. Maybe they expect you to already have it? Or maybe they just check Taiwanese arrest records?

Having a ‘Spent’ conviction, custodial or otherwise, is not the same as a non-filtered conviction, by current UK law.

That is to say, your convictions of assault will likely be kept on an extensive list of filtered convictions, established by the home office, which includes ABH/GBH assaults, drug-trafficking offences and all sexual offenses. Assault convictions stay on this list for ten years after sentence.

Any employer in the UK, the commonwealth nations and the EU that performs a criminal background check of their candidates, such as in teaching for example, go through the UK DBS system.

If, say, you’re going for a job as,a security guard or a “doorman”, then the DBS in UK will provide a standard check where they only look at spent convictions, if any. However, if going for teaching or other work with minors in the UK (& commmonwealth, EU), then that’s where the filtered/unfiltered list comes in.

Do note however that you can’t apply for DBS, only your employer can. Good news there is, you don’t have get that certificate authenticated.

If you need information of your whole record (cautions, convictions, etc), then you can apply for an ACRO certificate, which does have to be authenticated, if requested.

NOW, this is where it gets tricky. Most places outside of the EU and commonwealth nations do not have laws stating you have to supply a clean criminal record in the UK simply because they don’t have treaty-access to UK police databases. It’s entirely down to the FT candidate in vokunteering his authenticated ACRO police federation certificate. Otherwise, it’s just a signed document promising that you have not committed any crimes in Taiwan or China (I expect it’s the same in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapire. Not sure about Malaysia, SK).

In Taiwan (and in some instances China), it’s down to the schools to request CRB checks, not visa offices, I think.

HESS school asks you of any convictions in their applications, but they’re unlikely to check. It’s very unlikely that buxiban schools will spend money or time, waiting weeks for the DBS certificate that they have to apply for.

There is a reform currently being pushed through by the ministry to tighten the CRB checks in light of the recent suicide of the author Lin Yi-han (林奕含). But, again, it will only require the foreigner to provide a promise of a clean record in Tawian, just I mentioned above.

If you’re already in Taiwan, it’s at your own discretion to reveal your convictions, not a legal requirement.

Not yet anyway.

EDIT (MUST READ): I’ve just called the DBS office, the UK government office that provides CRB certificates and they directed me to their sister-office in Scotland.

Basically, they said that they can provide a CRB check for international employer, but 1) only your employer can apply for one 2) they will only provide a Standard Check certificate which will not show any spent convictions. They will not do an Enhanced Check, which is meant for jobs-specific (i.e- teaching), only available in the UK and will show Spent Convictions that are on the Unfiltered Convictions list, such assaults and sexual offences.

The DBS also said that they do lisence to a number of outside agents to handle the DBS checks. Just google “UK visa agents intetnational.”

But, they said, this process does take some weeks.

It’s virtually impossible for any foreigner already outside of the UK to provide a CRB certificate in any format. Therefore, signing a document provided by your Taiwanese employer, saying you have not been convicted or currently investigated to your knowledge of a crime in Taiwan/China will be acceptable.

If they want to employ you, that’s your only option.

The rule change would not affect foreigners who are already working as teachers at private institutes, who are required to provide Police Criminal Record Certificates issued by the Ministry of the Interior showing that they have not committed any criminal offenses in Taiwan in the three months prior to their employment, she said.

Basically, this reform is not asking for ciminal record check from country of origin, rather a promise that a foreigner hasn’t committed any crimes in Taiwan. Not all effective whatsoever.