In the 10 years I have been in China there have been several changes to the visa system… and April this year were yet again more changes. However, these changes are much more serious and more strict than every before.
I have been trying to bring teachers over to teach at my University and I have found that some of the requirements are just down right ridiculous and are causing issues. If you are thinking about coming to China to work…. as a teacher or other positions … I felt I needed to update everyone on what the laws now require for a legal, work visa in China.
First of all a legal work visa must be obtained before you come to China … if you are already in China on any other visa besides a work visa you will have to return to your home country to obtain your working visa then return to China. So, do not think you can just go to Hong Kong like before or that you can come over on a tourist visa and then turn it to a working visa… those days are over.
Secondly, to obtain your work visa you must received an invitation letter from the place that will be employing you. Now to get this invitation letter you must scan or take photos of the following items: Your passport information page (that has your photo on it); You must have a physical done or a letter from you doctor that says you are in good health and do not have any contagious illness – (if you do not get a full physical you will have to get another one when you get to China); You will need a degree, this degree has to be verified by the Chinese embassy – in some countries it has to go through the Department of foreign affairs and a lawyer before it can be sent to the Chinese Embassy to be stamped.
You will need a non-criminal report from your local police station (this also needs to be verified by the Chinese Embassy); if you are going to teach English you need a TESOL/TEFL/CELTA (this also needs to be verified by the Chinese Embassy) if you do not have one of these certifications then you must have at least 2 years teaching experience in the field you want to teach; If you are a non-native English speaker then you need to have a degree in the field in which you want to teach from a native English speaking country. (for the record the only countries recognized by China as “native” English-speaking countries are – USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia/New Zealand, and South Africa. No other countries are considered “native”. ) To continue if you want to do something besides teaching .. you will have to have a degree in that field and at least 2 years experience working in that field.
After, you get all these items scanned or takes photos and email them to your future employer. They will then have to translate all your documents into Chinese and submit all your documents, plus your signed contract, and the signed visa application to the immigration website system. This approval process takes about 1 to 2 weeks, depending on if there are any mistakes that need to be corrected.
Mistakes could be your resume not showing proper work history, your documents not been original scans or photos, your documents not being stamped by the Chinese embassy, etc. All these things can cause the letter to be rejected, and then we have to correct and resubmit.
The entire process can take as long as 2 to 3 months to complete, depending on your country or where the Chinese embassy is located and how busy it is. The whole process is very discouraging for many people wanting to come to China and for us that are already here. When we came here the requirements were much easier to meet now you basically have to jump through fire to get a working visa.
We cannot help but think it is a way to keep foreigners from coming to China. I not only makes it difficult for foreigners it is also difficult for the employers that want to hire foreigners.
It is making many people return to their home country after being here for so long. They figure it is not worth the hassle, they might as well go home or to a different country where it is easier to get a working visa.
They also have created an ID card system for foreigners. This is a way to monitor us – to see where we go, and how long we are going. China has changed a lot in the last 10 years… many people are planning their exit….
The question is… Should I be planning mine?
Until Next time….