Posted on August 9, 2019 | By Alex Boase
04th Apr 2019
When it comes to teaching English overseas, we have lots of jobseekers asking us if they’re ‘too old to teach’. At LoveTEFL, we believe you’re never too old to share some knowledge in the classroom! However, it wouldn’t be fair for us to tell you there are absolutely no limitations on age in the TEFL world because that just isn’t true. Unfortunately, there are some destinations where you might not be able to teach (or work at all) after a certain age.
If you’re wondering why this is the case, there are a few different reasons why some countries have maximum age limits in place. There may be limits due to the local retirement age and the country’s laws on working after retirement. Alternatively, it may be difficult for TEFL employers to provide the right kind of health insurance to employees over a certain age. Or, visa laws may prohibit you moving to or finding work in some countries due to your age.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places with no age limits to teach English abroad. Below, we’ve provided a list of suggested maximum age limits in various countries. These numbers are based on research and the experiences of TEFL teachers abroad. It may technically be possible to find work in some of these locations after our suggested maximum age limits but it will be extremely difficult.
In Africa, you may find difficulties getting TEFL work over the age of 60, however it’s not impossible! There are lots of places where there is no maximum age limit and there are lots of TEFL jobs around.
In Morocco, the maximum age limit is currently 60. In Malawi, there are technically no limits on what age you can work until, but you’ll generally find it more difficult to secure a job and working visa after 60. And in Egypt, you can work into your 70s but it can be difficult to find health insurance after the age of 65, which may be required by some employers.
Maximum age limit of 60: Morocco
Maximum age limit of 70+: Egypt
No maximum age limit: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Uruguay
In Asia, the retirement age tends to be between 60 and 70. Usually, you will not be able to work after the official retirement age or you may find it difficult to find employers who will take you on. However, there are a few countries where there are no official age limits on working. Find the maximum age limits for various countries in Asia below.
In Indonesia, 60 is not the official maximum age limit but ESL teachers find it very difficult to find work after this age. Similarly, 70 is not the official maximum age limit in Singapore but it’s hard to find work after this age. And although the official retirement age in South Korea is 60, it’s actually very difficult to find work as a foreign ESL teacher after the age of 37! Likewise, Turkey’s official maximum age is 60 but it’s far easier to find teaching work here if you are younger.
On the other hand, although the retirement age is 60 in Hong Kong, you may be able to work for private schools until you are 65. However, be aware that you may lose out on certain benefits after turning 60.
Maximum age of 60: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam, Hong Kong
Maximum age of 62: Myanmar
Maximum age of 65: Cambodia*, Japan, Taiwan
Maximum age of 70: Singapore
No maximum age limit: Cyprus, Georgia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan
*The Cambodian age limit will be lowered soon.
If you’re an older EFL teacher with a passport from an EU country, Europe is probably your best bet for finding TEFL work. With an EU passport, there’ll be no need for employers to sponsor a working visa for you. On top of that, you should have the freedom to work for more than one employer or work for yourself.
In the Netherlands, you may lose certain medical benefits after the age of 40 and this can affect your chances of getting hired by TEFL employers. In Croatia, the retirement age is currently 65 for men and 62 for women. It is possible to work as a TEFL teacher after the retirement age but it’s difficult to find work. In Poland, the official pension age is currently 65 but it is possible to work past this age.
Maximum age of 40s: Netherlands
Maximum age of 62: Slovakia
Maximum age of 65: Croatia, Malta
No maximum age limit: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom
If you’re looking for somewhere to teach abroad after retirement, Latin America is definitely worth considering. Most countries in this area have no maximum age limit for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and the number of TEFL jobs here is growing.
Maximum age limit of 62: Colombia
Maximum age limit of 65-70: Peru
No maximum age limit: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela
The Middle East
The Middle East is not one of the easiest places to teach abroad after a certain age but it is possible. In the UAE, the working visa becomes expensive after the age of 60. And in some of these locations, you may miss out on benefits or insurance once you get into your 60s.
Maximum age of 50-60: Qatar, Saudi Arabia
Maximum age of 60: Kuwait, Oman
Maximum age of 65: UAE
No maximum age limit: Israel, Jordan, Lebanon
Disclaimer: We have made every effort to find up-to-date information for this article. However, visa laws and situations overseas are constantly changing. Please do not rely solely on this blog for information about teaching abroad age limits. Make sure to use various sources as well as calling the local embassy for advice.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like Teaching abroad in your 50s, 60s and older. We also recommend checking out the Joy Jobs blog which has lots of information on teaching overseas as an older person.