In total, 64% of the teachers who took part in the survey “Getting Teacher Migration and Mobility Right” used an agency to secure a position abroad. Importantly, 80% of respondents indicate that they would recommend the agency they used, and only 20% are “unsure” or definitely would not recommend the agency. 170 total teachers report mixed or negative impression of their recruiter. Notably, in open-ended responses these teachers raised grave concerns regarding harassment, lack of transparency, excessive fees, fraud, legal violations, and even human trafficking. Moreover, teachers reporting negative recruitment experiences are much more likely to come from low income countries, representing 57% of those with mixed or negative reactions of a recruiter, but just 36% of overall respondents.

Nearly a quarter of respondents paid a placement fee to secure a teaching job abroad; roughly the same percentage indicated a need to take out loans to cover the fees incurred in the recruitment process.  Overall, 693 respondents provided specific information regarding upfront fees they had to pay, including medical, travel, visa, and testing fees, in addition to recruitment fees. 80% of teachers who report paying fees incurred upfront costs less than U.S.$5,000. 20% of respondents report fees in excess of $5,000, with the majority of those falling somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000, or levels that can lead to debt bondage.

Of the teachers who used a recruiter, 80% were required to sign a recruitment contract. More than 80% of those with recruitment contracts indicate that the terms of the arrangement were clear to them and they feel that their contracts were fair. However, nearly half (47%) risked monetary penalties for terminating a contract early.

Almost one in five (18%) of survey respondents report that their recruitment contract was unfair. Of these, more than half are from low-income countries, and fully 47% are from the Philippines. Teachers from lower-middle income countries are over-represented among those who perceived their contract as unfair, and teachers from upper-middle income and high-income countries are underrepresented.