Excuse me, but why is the article or the conversation framed as "illegal teachers"?
The fact is that the majority of schools in China are not able to issue working visas, and that the demand for teachers is huge. Why not "illegal schools" or "lazy schools"? Why not "out of touch bureaucracy holds back schools from issuing proper visas?"
Actually the biggest and perhaps the most expensive English training school in China, a publicly traded company, employs foreign teachers illegally. Has it occurred to anyone that keeping large portions of a workforce without their proper papers might just be their preferred way of managing them? It also keeps the top dog companies safe from the competition of start-up schools, as the big guys can always use their guanxi to keep illegally employing their teachers without ever fearing a crackdown.
Do illegal teachers like being illegal? Do they not want training, visas, foreign expert certificates, legal protections, holiday pay and airfare?
While a "cleaning up " of the industry would be very good for good teachers, this is not what this about. This is about blaming the outsider, the individual, the guy you can blame without consequences. They don't blame the visa procedures or the schools or the market.
And as a sort of an off topic side note : As someone who has multiple qualifications to teach English as foreign language and who also has taught high school English in the west, I (and any training school manager) can tell you that Joe blow the cleaner-if trained properly-might be a better EFL teacher than someone with a masters degree in a related field.
Yes there are plenty of lazy teachers. Actually, the majority of workers in any field in Yunnan are lazy.
But articles like this are just xenophobia guys, and are best understood in the context of the current wave of sensationalism, as you can see if you check out the history of such "news" in other countries (including Japan and Korea).