January 2012 China Visa Update
It’s time for an update on the current visa situation in China. This post is based on emails that we receive here at the China Teaching Web as well as conversations that I have had with teachers and schools around China.
Choose carefully before you come to teach here. Due to the increased difficulties of obtaining a visa to teach in China (and finding teachers), schools are not just going to let you walk away from your contract.
I have a friend who tried to break his contract recently (for what I thought was a pretty compelling reason) but his school threatened to take all sorts of measures to prevent him from leaving. It’s hard to find teachers right now and the school couldn’t afford to lose a foreign teacher for the coming semester. Of course, he could have just walked away, but this could make it difficult for him to return to teach in China in the future.
The Chinese government is cracking down on hard on teachers who are not working on valid work visas
Take a good look at your residence permit. If the city on the permit doesn’t match the city that you are teaching in, this could get you in big trouble. And don’t think that you can get away with teaching on a tourist visa in China. If you are caught doing this, you are on the hook, not your school. Teachers have been arrested,deported and blacklisted for this offense. If your school refuses to provide you with a valid working visa, you need to get out of that situation. It’s not worth the trouble.
Use some common sense and leave when BEFORE your visa expires. If you do overstay, DON’T give your passport to the first schmuck who says he can help you get a valid visa. Pay the FINE and get out!
We receive too many emails from people begging us to help them because they overstayed their visa in China. If their own government can’t help them, what can we do for them? The fact is, overstaying your visa in China (like any other country) is a crime. But unlike other countries, the consequences for overstaying are not overly harsh. You have to pay a fine of 500 RMB per day overstayed with a maximum of 5000 RMB. Of course, if you can’t pay the fine, they can arrest you.
We keep hearing stories about people in this situation who are giving their passports to special ‘agents’ who claim they can help them obtain a valid visa. BAD idea. Never surrender your passport to someone else.
Again, when you come to China, you need to make arrangements to get out on time. If you don’t think you can do that, then don’t bother to come at all!
For more information about overstaying please see this link: http://shanghai.usembassy-china.org.cn/acs_faq.html
Do you have story or word of advice to share with us about visas in China? Please leave a comment below.