ESL jobs for non-native speakers

by Hina
(Pakistan)

Hello this is someone from Pakistan. The question I want to ask is that whenever you go through the ads for ESL teachers they usually require native speakers and non native speakers are not preferred, is there a possibility for a Pakistani or some other non-native speakers to teach abroad and are they given ESL jobs?


I have an experience of 3 and a half years and I am still into this business of teaching English language to adults. I am also pursuing MA in applied Linguistics which will complete within some months and soon would be acquiring TEFL certificate.
Would this all work and if it does what would be the suitable location to teach? Hoping to get a positive reply!

Hello Hina - I delayed responding to your question because I already have similar answers on the website, but as most of them relate to jobs in a specific country, I thought I'd have another go at answering this common question.

Finding a job teaching English abroad - if you are not a native speaker - is hard. It's not impossible. Not at all, but it is harder. Within the EU, schools are required by law to hire EU citizens. Therefore, British and Irish nationals will almost always be sought.

In much of Asia there is also a strong preference for native speakers. Some countries in Asia require teachers to have a degree taken in an English speaking country - this is in addition to the preference many students (and parents) have.

Some entrepreneurial people do find ways around this, but they are relatively few.

There are quite a lot of Pakistani nationals teaching English in the Gulf States. This is a possibility, although I suspect that many schools would use the fact that you are not a native speaker to pay you a lower rate.

Nevertheless, it may be worth checking out possibilities in the Middle East as your qualifications look quite good. However, your experience - while considered a lot in many countries - would been seen as minimal in much of the Middle East. Three years post masters teaching experience is usually the minimum needed to apply to many schools or universities.

Good luck in your job search.

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