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COVID-19 Restrictions in Top 10 Teaching Markets

Many teachers considering taking up new work abroad in 2021 have a lot of very valid questions as to the process of relocating these days, especially as it pertains to COVID-19 restrictions. Are schools even hiring? Can they sponsor visas? Do I need a COVID-free test? And so on. We’ve compiled the answers to many of these questions for the Top 10 TEFL Markets, in terms of historical demand for English teachers globally. The following charts can be your guide as to where might be logical places to apply, as of August 2021. 

 

China

Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Some, though many are offering higher salaries to teachers already in China. 
COVID-free test required?  Yes: “All Chinese and foreign passengers bound for China will be required to take nucleic acid and IgM anti-body tests and apply for a green health code with the “HS” mark or a certified health declaration form before boarding the flight.” This test must be issued within 48 hours of boarding  

“All overseas passenger arrivals are subject to health checks on arrival (likely involving nucleic acid or swab tests). Those failing health checks may be sent to a designated hospital for treatment.” 

Application Timeline  4-6 months 
Quarantine Required  Yes: “Health regulations surrounding passengers arriving from overseas are continuously changing. You should contact the Chinese Embassy before you travel if you have any questions regarding these entry requirements, quarantine rules or the requirements for individual cities…Following health checks on arrival, you will then need to enter quarantine for at least 14 days. At some points of entry children 14 and over will be required to quarantine alone irrespective of whether they test positive or negative for COVID.” 

In person/Online classes  In person and online classes, location depending. 
Additional Requirements  Only select schools and locations able to obtain work visas and related required government documents currently. 

 


 

South Korea

Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes 
COVID-free test required?  Yes: “All travelers coming to the Republic of Korea…are required to provide a negative PCR test result issued within 72 hours prior to the date of departure… Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAATs) such as PT-PCR, TMA, SDA, and NEAR are acceptable.” 

Application Timeline  3-6 months 
Quarantine Required?  Yes: “Asymptomatic Korean and foreign nationals from Europe and the U.S. on long-term visas are subject to self-quarantine (14 days, Self-Quarantine Safety Protection App to be installed) and tested at a public health center within three days of arrival. Asymptomatic Korean nationals and foreign nationals on long-term visas from countries other than the U.S. and European countries are subject to self-quarantine (14 days, Self-Quarantine Safety Protection App to be installed) and tested at a public health center within 14 days.” 

In person/Online classes  In person and online classes, location depending (capacity limits for in-person classes). 
Additional Requirements  Due to reduced consular services, certain aspects of visa application procedures have been adjusted accordingly. Consular visits require an appointment. 

 


 

Japan

Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes, but applicants are on a waiting list pending COVID-related visa restrictions. 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes, but government regulations have put a hold on visa issuance. This may be in place until 2022.  “Foreign nationals arriving from the United States or other designated countries/regions will be denied entry to Japan unless there are “Exceptional Circumstances.” The Embassy of Japan requests that all visa applicants please call the Consular Office (TEL: 202-238-6800) before visiting to apply for a visa.” 

COVID-free test required?  Yes: “From March 19, 2021, all travelers including Japanese nationals have to submit a certificate of negative test result conducted within 72 hours prior to departing from the country/region where travelers stay when entering Japan. Those who do not submit a certificate of negative test result will be denied entry into Japan in accordance with the Quarantine Act. Airline companies will reject boarding those without one. Please consult with Embassies or Consulates or Consular Office of Japan in case it is truly difficult to obtain the certificate of negative test result.”  

Application Timeline  6 months minimum 
Quarantine Required?  Yes: “… all cross-border travelers and returnees from countries/regions judged as having the risk of inflow of the coronavirus are requested, for the time being, to stay 3 days at facilities designated by the Chief of the Quarantine Station (limited only to those facilities secured by the Quarantine Station) as “designated countries/regions in response to coronavirus infection other than coronavirus variants with special concern in terms of border measures” according to the another designation based on this measure. In addition, those who obtain negative results of all COVID-19 tests conducted on the third day from the entry into Japan, may leave the facilities, but are still required to stay for the remaining period of 14 days after the entry into Japan at own residence etc.” 

In person/Online classes  In person and online classes (mostly in person) 
Additional Requirements  Governmental visa restrictions currently in place, potentially until early 2022. 

 


 

Colombia

Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes, usually after arrival in country. 
COVID-free test required?  No: “COVID-19 negative test is no longer required to enter Colombia.” Be sure to fill out the online form entitled by Migración Colombia as Check-Mig within 48 of your flight to facilitate your immigration control. This form is available at: apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/pre-registro/public/preregistro.jsf 

Application Timeline  0-3 months 
Quarantine Required?  No 
In person/Online classes  Online classes 
Additional Requirements  Ensure all required visa documents are authenticated by relevant government bodies in country of issuance before departure. 

 


 

Spain

Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  EU passport strongly preferred; student visas may be an option for youth participating in work-study programs.
COVID-free test required?  No: “…all passengers arriving to Spain from the US shall be granted entry provided they show the necessary QR code to the Spanish authorities, obtainable at: spth.gob.es/.  Therefore, vaccination cards, PCR tests or recovery certificates shall not be required any longer. This new regulation does not exempt passengers on a layover at an EU country, prior to their arrival to a Spanish airport, from complying with the entry requisites of the said country, which can be found in their respective websites.

Application Timeline  1-6 months 
Quarantine Required?  No 
In person/Online classes  In person classes 
Additional Requirements  Schools in Spain strongly prefer to hire candidates who already have legal working rights in Spain, such as a passport from an EU member state, student visa, or youth mobility visa (eligible to citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand aged 18-30 inclusive). 

 


 

Thailand

Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes 
COVID-free test required?  Yes: “Must get a COVID Test (RT-PCR only) 72 hrs. before departure and have a negative result.” 

Application Timeline  1-3 months 
Quarantine Required?  Yes: “Those arriving in Thailand from 6 May 2021 onwards must be quarantined for no less than 14 days.” 

In person/Online classes  In person and online classes, location depending 
Additional Requirements  Currently, work visas must be applied for in the teacher’s country of citizenship.  New arrivals to Thailand must stay at an approved Alternative Quarantine hotel for the duration of their quarantine. Once receiving the visa in your passport, to enter Thailand non-Thai nationals must prepare: 

  • a COVID-19 test (RT-PCR) 
  • Certificate of Entry (obtain the COE from www.coethailand.mfa.go.th) 
  • Medical insurance with min. $100,000 coverage for COVID-19 
  • Alternate Quarantine hotel reservation

 


 

Taiwan
Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes, for the spring semester (2022) 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes, but government regulations have put a hold on visa issuance. Check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website for updates: en.mofa.gov.tw/News_Content.aspx?n=1329&s=96197 
COVID-free test required?  Yes: “…travelers who arrive at an airport in Taiwan must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report issued within 3 days (working days) prior to the flight schedule time” 

Application Timeline  5-6 months (applications being considered now for early 2022) 
Quarantine Required?  Yes: “Those who enter Taiwan shall arrange quarantine accommodation (a quarantine hotel or group quarantine facility where they plan to stay at their own expense) before visiting the country.” 

In person/Online classes  Online classes 
Additional Requirements  Currently, work visas must be applied for in the teacher’s country of citizenship. 

 


 

Mexico 
Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes 
COVID-free test required?  No: “When entering Mexico and/or flying within the country you will be asked to please fill a questionnaire letting the authorities know if you have had contact with and/or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If planning to visit Mexico please visit the following link to fill out the questionnaire the day of your trip.” 

Application Timeline  2-4 months 
Quarantine Required?  No, but the CDC recommends that only fully vaccinated passengers travel to Mexico: “Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to Mexico.” 

In person/Online classes  In person and online classes (capacity limits for in-person classes) 
Additional Requirements  Work visas must be applied for in the teacher’s country of citizenship. 

 


 

Vietnam
Schools Accepting Applications?  Some, but when they will be able to bring in new teachers is unknown. 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes, but government regulations have put a hold on visa issuance. 
COVID-free test required?  Yes: “The Vietnamese government continues to allow pre-approved foreigners and their families in exempted categories, including diplomats, officials, experts, business managers, foreign investors, high-tech workers, and other business travelers to enter Vietnam. Please note that these individuals will be subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival. See Section ‘Quarantine Information’ below for further information.

Application Timeline  3-4 months 
Quarantine Required?  Yes: “The Vietnamese government currently mandates 14-day quarantine periods.” 

In person/Online classes  Online classes 
Additional Requirements  Ensure all required visa documents are authenticated by relevant government bodies in country of issuance before departure (some may be able to be authenticated by home country embassies in Vietnam). 

 


 

Costa Rica
Schools Accepting Applications?  Yes 
Schools Able to Sponsor Visas?  Yes, but the application and approval process for residency is lengthy (typically 5-11 months). When a residency application is submitted, it is assigned a file number (Expediente). The applicant receives a printout of the Expediente and is free to stay in Costa Rica as long as they wish while they await approval of their residency application. 

COVID-free test required?  No, as of October 26, 2020 travelers to Costa Rica no longer require a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. 

Application Timeline  1-3 months 
Quarantine Required?  No, instead complete a Health Pass, in which you agree that you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 now, and that you will comply with a quarantine order if you contract COVID-19 during your visit. 

In person/Online classes  Online classes 
Additional Requirements  Ensure all required visa documents are authenticated by relevant government bodies in country of issuance before departure.   As of August 1, 2021 fully vaccinated tourists and all minors will no longer be required to show proof of COVID-19 travel insurance. 

 

NOTE: This information was compiled based on research conducted from government and travel websites, as well as correspondence with Oxford Seminars’ Job Placement Service contacts abroad, between July 21-August 4, 2021. This research was conducted primarily from the perspective of US-based travelers. For non-US travelers, please verify the regulations for the country to which you are traveling, as it may be different to what is detailed here. Details are subject to change.

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