Work limits for foreign students clarified

Three years ago, when Seth Grifin was studying Chines language at a university in East China’s Fujian province he wanted to work to support his study.

The 26-year-old from Alask said he needed a way to earn money and support his stud in China. He applied to teach English at a local school, which promised to provide the work permit needed by an international student to take a part time job.

However, Grifin quit after nine months as the school failed to fulfill its promise and obtain the relevant paperwork making his part-time teaching illegal and himself unprotected.

Grifin was not alone. Man of his friends who were also expatriate students were in th same situation. They had part-time jobs such as bartending waiting tables or modeling, but without a permit or the accompanying legal protection.

Situations like these are expected to occur less frequently now that the Ministry of Justice has released a series of regulations covering international students studying in China who wish to take part-time jobs, in accordance with their university rules, to support their study.

According to the regulations, expatriates registered at universities of China and with student status – whether undergraduates, master’s or doctorate degree students, general scholars or Chinese-language students – may work to support their study under specific requirements, which include limits on working time and nature.

The regulations state that foreign students, or those holding study residence permits, who wish to take part-time jobs or internships in China must apply to the exit and entry administration management department and have the relevant information added to their visas.

That information includes the place and duration of the part-time job or internship. Anyone without such information on his or her visa is not permitted to work or hold an internship, the regulations stipulate.

Li Yong, director of the student affairs department with the School of International Education at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the release of the regulations is an indicator that the administration and management of international students in China is becoming increasingly regulatory.

Li said his university conducted a survey among international students in Beijing last year, together with some prestigious universities in the capital, such as Tsinghua and Peking universities. The survey found that 58 percent of the international students polled had held part-time jobs in Beijing. Four out of 10 international students believed they would have many good opportunities if they stayed to work in China.

“They have a strong desire to work here, no matter its form, in a part-time manner or just an internship,” Li said, adding that the new regulations are trying to achieve a balance between meeting that desire and maintaining good administration.

Katerina Galajdova, who has just finished her master’s degree studies at Beijing Language and Culture University and returned to her hometown in Czech Republic, said it would be great if international students could study and have a part-time job at the same time.

They could then earn money to support their lives and studies, while also learning more about China and the Chinese culture through work and even through traveling around the country, which would be more possible with the money earned from part-time employment, she said

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