The amount of time things takes really depends on the teacher, but it is best to expect the documents to take at least four-to-six weeks.
The quickest was a Canadian girl who had her paperwork done in about two weeks, her work permit came in two days and it took three business days to process the visa.
That is not normal though.
First, you will have an interview when you choose your available time/date in the schedule (after you apply).
We usually get back to applicants, that have been chosen to move forward, within a day or two after the interview.
Reference checks will take a couple days, and usually chatting with some teachers, and reviewing the contract takes a couple days.
The time it takes to gather the documents depends sometimes on the area and sometimes there are unexpected delays. With the Covid19 situation everything seems to be delayed by weeks.
Next, teachers who have a valid passport (if not that can take time), get their documents ready for the work permit. The most time consuming would be getting the diploma/graduate certificate and police check/DBS authenticated (We’ll give full details when you get to that stage).
So long as the borders are open and work permits can be issues from China, the work permit letter (needed before you can apply for the visa) usually take a week or two.
Getting the visa is normally done three business days after the application is submitted (Which is sometimes delayed by lack of available appointments depending on the area or time of year).
Often time moves fast. We have had teachers apply six months in advance thinking that they had a lot of time to prepare and barely were able to start on time. It is best to get moving on documents and preparation as soon as you can.