Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Great Wall of China? Why don’t you stay for a while on the right side of the Wall? There’s a real possibility to experience Chinese way of life and work. If you want to work for a living and teach English in China, the first thing you need is a residence and work permit. These two come together, as you need a residence permit to be located in any part of China in order to be employed.
Starting 1st of April 2017, the new visa regime will make it easier for foreign workers to get these papers. This new procedure will optimize the process of employment because you will not have to deal with China’s regional policies. Instead, there will be a unified, common procedure that must be followed.
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A more efficient visa regime
The old complicated system of Z-visas (the Alien Employment Permit) and R-visas (the Foreign Expert Permit) is history. It is being transformed into a system that divides the foreign workforce into three categories. When applying for a job, you will be evaluated according to your education, salary level, age, time spent working in China and your knowledge of the Chinese language.
An A-level candidate will have more than 85 points, B level is between 60 and 85 points, and C level is less than 60 points. It’s not clear yet if you will be able to work in China without a University degree. Probably, applicants without a degree would get less than 60 points which will make it hard for them to get the visa.
Who can apply? You need to meet the following conditions to apply for a visa to teach English in China:
- 18 years old or older
- Good health
- No criminal record
- A commitment from a legal employer
- Professional skills in the work field or a corresponding degree
- A university degree
Application procedure to get a Z visa
1. Apply online
Step 1 is to apply online. In this step of the process, the employer in China submits an application and other relevant documents. Those documents are:
- Application form
- Business license and organization code certificate
- Social insurance registration or certificate of registration of the resident representative office of the foreign enterprise
- Information such as the name, ID, and phone number of the foreign worker
- Power of Attorney
- The identity of the employer or manager
Both the application and these documents are submitted online on the management system for foreign workers in China (only in Chinese).
2. Online pre-qualification
Step 2 is to get an online pre-qualification. Once it is underway, the receiving agency has five working days to check the materials sent by the employer. If you’re a foreigner coming to work in China from abroad, then you apply for the ‘Work Permit for Aliens of the People’s Republic of China’ (a formal title for the ‘Work Permit for Foreigners in China’).
Bear in mind you have only 15 days after entry to do so. If the employer made some kind of mistake filling out the paperwork, the receiving agency allows the employers to revisit the materials and try to correct the mistake.
3. Verification of the employer’s application
Step 3 is the verification of the employer’s application. If the application is OK, the administrative organ issues a special seal along with the signature and the date of the verification.
Step 4 is the review. When the application issued by the employer gets verified, the decision-making body takes the materials under review. They make the decision within 10 working days.
5. Formal application
If they do decide to let the employer hire a foreigner, the employee can make a formal application for the ‘Work Permit for Aliens of the People’s Republic of China’, which is Step 5. These are the documents you will need at this point:
- Work Permit for Aliens of the People’s Republic of China’ application form
- Proof of previous work experience
- Certificates of the highest level of education
- Official proof of no criminal record from the country of permanent residence
- Medical certificate
- Employment contract or other proof of employment
- Passport or another travel document
- A photo from the last six months in which the applicant is bareheaded
6. Final decision
The last step is the final decision. The agency grants the administrative license if the applicant has met the conditions for the work permit. Within 10 days of their final decision, the agency offers the applicant the Foreign Work Permit, creating an electronic ‘Notice on Work Permit for Aliens’.
There is a possibility that the application gets rejected. In that case, you can apply for reconsideration or bring an administrative lawsuit against the licensing authority. To sum up, when the employer’s submission is examined, verified, reviewed and accepted, a foreign worker can officially apply for the permit.
Dimitrios Vlachos is one of the founding members of Movinhand, a growing network of skilled professionals. They take ESL teachers by the hand and help them find job opportunities around the world.