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China Hands Out First 10-Year Visas to Americans Following Deal With Obama

Posted: 11/17/2014 6:22 pm

first visa extension china usa tourist business studnent

The first ten-year travel visa with multiple entries have been issued to Americans just days after the US and China reached a deal on visas at APEC in Beijing, reported ECNS. 

23-year-old researcher Edmund Downie was the first US citizen to receive the newly extended visa at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Under the agreement, student visas will be valid for five years, while tourist and business visas will be valid for ten years. The agreement does not change the length of time a visitor is allowed to stay in the country, but the validity of the visa itself. In other words, people will still only be able to stay for 30 days on each entry in most cases.

Visas for each country were previously only valid for one year.

“It eases the process of visa acquisition and makes it more affordable,” Downie said, while adding this will help Americans to learn more about China.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was present at a ceremony at the US Embassy in Beijing last week where the first ten-year visas were issued to Chinese citizens.

Kerry emphasized the mutual benefit both countries will gain, saying, ”This will pay huge dividends for American and Chinese citizens and it will strengthen both of our economies.”

Through this agreement, the White House hopes to attract more Chinese tourists as a way to boost employment and inject billions into the US economy. A White House statement said that by 2021, Chinese travelers will contribute $85 billion to the US economy and support 440,000 jobs. The agreement will also “quadruple” the current number of Chinese visitors coming to the United States.

Previously, China represented an untapped source of tourism for the US.  The White House noted “Chinese travelers persistently rank the United States as their top desired travel destination, but only slightly more than 1.8 percent of total outbound travelers go to the United States.”

President Obama made the visa policy announcement at a speech during APEC in which he said he wanted China “to do well”, saying, “”The United States welcomes the rise of a prosperous, peaceful and stable China.”

In light of the many tensions between the two countries, President Obama also raised US concerns over China’s stubbornly fixed exchange rate, restricted markets, and press freedoms and human rights.

Obama also touched upon the protests happening in Hong Kong over universal suffrage, saying, ”Our primary message has been to make sure violence is avoided,” adding that the US would “continue to have concerns about human rights” in China.

President Obama emphasized he would stick to his ideals, saying, ”We’re not going to stop speaking out on behalf of the things that we care about.”

Photo: ecns


China’s Typical Expat: Male, Doesn’t Speak Chinese, and Loves It Here

Posted: 11/11/2014 10:34 am
foreign experts china

Juan and Fabio are among the foreign experts who arrived in China and are loving it, as seen in this March 2008 news photo.

Common sense may have told us this, but we finally have confirmation from the Chinese government: the typical expat in China is male, doesn’t speak Chinese, and loves his adopted country.

The State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs sent a questionnaire to expats as part of its study on the living environment for expatriate workers. It found China is already among the world’s top destinations for expatriate workers and by far the most lucrative, but it still needs “to do better to hire and keep professional expats”, reported China Daily.

More than 2,000 people responded to the survey. It showed 74 percent of expats are male, and an astounding 73 percent could barely understand simple Chinese.

The study outlined a number of problems that concerned foreigners, such as medical and social insurance issues, as well as the educational needs of their children and the application process for work visas.

Chinese authorities have tried to make the work visa application process easier for expats, and even announced reforms to China’s rarely-seen green card program. In 2012, only 0.2 percent of China’s 633,000 expats held a green card.

The report failed to mention air pollution, an issue so important to some expat workers that Western companies are willing to pay “hazard pay” bonuses to those willing to work in China’s big polluted cities.

When asked what conditions could be improved for expats, the study found that 56.9 percent of respondents want better compensation, while many of their employers reportedly are unable to meet those demands.

Whatever their salary, expats are generally very happy to be in China. Over 70 percent of professional expat workers in China reported being very satisfied with their lives, and 75 percent of employers reported being similarly satisfied with these foreign expats, even if they are mostly males who don’t speak the language.


[h/t the Beijinger]

Photo: FY News, dahe


CCTV Investigates Sketchy English Teaching Industry in China

Posted: 09/3/2014 9:48 am

undercover english teaching cctv report

English teachers in China are now finding themselves in the government’s crosshairs.

CCTV went undercover to investigate a language school in Harbin, Heilongjiang and found many schools hired teachers who didn’t have proper teaching or employment certificates. This is obvious to many of us who live and Cracwork in China, and has been going on for years. But the new attention from state media indicates a crackdown may be coming.

The TV report said all foreign teachers must apply for a Foreign Expert Certificate from the Bureau of Foreigner Expert Affairs from their school, and a work visa provided by the local PSB in order to be permitted to work in China.

undercover english teaching cctv report


The crackdown on illegal English teachers is nothing new. Last August, “several” teachers at English training schools in Nanshan District, Shenzhen were arrested for working illegally. And yet, more teachers continue to stream in to meet the high demand for language learning. Just one month after the previous raid, the local Shenzhen government revealed an initiative to hire 175 English teachers for placement in 125 public schools.

Still, here’s some good advice: no matter what your school says, make sure you are properly certified.

Here’s the CCTV report:

For more on new labor laws enacted last year, here’s a link.

undercover english teaching cctv report

[h/t Lost Laowai]

Photo: screenshots from Youtube


Macau Tightens Visa Rules For Mainland Visitors

Posted: 06/19/2014 5:01 pm

macau customsIf you’re a Chinese mainlander and want to go gamble in Macau, one surefire way to circumvent existing entry requirements is by entering as a transit visitor on your way to a third country—but actually have no intention of going anywhere else but the craps table.

Sorry, Danny Ocean with Chinese characteristics: the gig is up.

Macau has just announced changes to its entry requirements to deter mainland high-rollers from coming to the territory. Starting on July 1, mainland visitors holding a Chinese passport in transit will only be allowed to stay a maximum of five days, down from an original seven, according to Bloomberg.

READ: Guangdong Residents Can Now Visit
Hong Kong and Macau with Their Fingerprints

However, some critics of the plan point out that the change won’t actually succeed at what it’s supposed to accomplish. Jose Pereira Coutinho, a directly elected legislator in the 33-member Legislative Assembly, said, ”It won’t help resolve the existing problem for some mainland visitors to travel to Macau without traveling to another destination.” In other words, they can still get a lot of gambling done in the new five-day period.

The last time Macau made changes to its entry requirements was in 2008 when it shortened the maximum stay from 14 days to seven. As well, mainland tourists that re-enter Macau within 30 days of their previous stay will only be allowed to stay one day, down from two days.

Additionally, China UnionPay has promised to clamp down on illegal payments made with handheld devices in Macau gambling establishments, an amount analysts say was worth billions last year.


Photo: deltabridges


Getting a Chinese Green Card Will Now Be Easier Than Ever

Posted: 06/3/2014 2:10 pm

When a number of high-profile expats announced their departure from China last year, it appeared to have signaled a mass exodus of Westerners from the smoggy cities of the north—that is, if you believed it. The expat exodus may have simply been a southern migration to the sunny climes of the Pearl River Delta, or may not have happened at all.

Which is it? As if to save us from ourselves, Chinese authorities may have provided the answer in the form of a question: Why don’t you stay, all of you? In fact, China is now considering making it easier than ever for expats to obtain the vaunted Chinese “green card”.

On Monday, the Organizational Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China stated they have drafted regulations on permanent residence for foreigners and will consider more flexible and pragmatic application standards, reported China Daily.

READ: New Visa Policies for Foreigners Now in Effect—
What You Need to Know

Excelsior! This may be the answer to all your problems if a trip to the border via the “Hong Kong midnight run” is a monthly routine for you. A Chinese green card, otherwise known as a “permanent residence card”, will give foreigners the right to reside in China indefinitely. A green card holder will be able to enter and exit China with only a passport and the green card itself without ever needing to apply for a visa ever again.

First introduced in 2004, the granting of the “Regulations on Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Alien in China” was intended to attract “high-level foreigners” to invest in Chinese businesses and attract skilled professionals, and may again seek to attract more foreign talent with easing these restrictions.

And now this is easier than ever to obtain? How come there aren’t more of these handy cards around? Whom do I have to marry?

RELATED: Guangdong Residents Can Now Visit Hong Kong and
Macau With Their Fingerprints

Well, you may not have heard of the rarefied Chinese green card because next to nobody has it. Of the 633,000 foreigners living in China in 2012, only 1202 foreigners were awarded a permanent residence card—only 0.19% of the expat population.

But hey, the other 99.8% of the population now stand to have a better chance to enjoy a visa-free stay in China. All you have to do is satisfy one of the following conditions from last year which are now undergoing reforms:

  • you are a businessperson who has invested at least USD 500,000 in the country
  • you are a high-level foreign expert holding a post which promotes China’s economy, scientific and technological development or social progress with skills “needed by the State”
  • you have made an outstanding contribution of special importance to China
  • you are married to a Chinese national

READ: New Visa Laws to Make Life Harder for Illegal Expats,
Easier for Highly-Skilled Ones

The application form is probably provided with check-boxes to make filling it out also easier than ever, just in case you qualify for two or more of these categories.

Once you submit your application, the Public Security Bureau will process it, requiring you to wait a period of six months (or approximately 120 business days, if that makes more sense to you).

A permanent resident status card is valid for a period of five or ten years, but may be instantly revoked if you are in violation of any of the following:

  • You are deemed likely to cause harm to national security or interests;
  • You are ordered by the people’s court to be expelled from the country;
  • You have obtained permanent residence through falsified materials or other illegal methods;
  • Your accumulated stay in a year is less than three months, or your accumulated stay in a period of five years in China is less than one year, without permission

READ: In Praise Of… Being a China Expat

Congratulations! You now have the same rights as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China.

Now, the disagreement whether Western expats are leaving or arriving can end because we’ve made it, all of us: we’re being accepted into the fold of Chinese society. As the China Daily headline reads:

Green card application threshold to be lowered

Finally: “lowered expectations” are coming to the rest of the 99.8 percent of the expat community. The back-packing English teacher may soon yet be permanently residing next door to a CEO captain of industry in short time.


Photo: Sohu


Cops arrest undocumented English teachers in Shenzhen

Posted: 08/13/2013 1:07 pm

It seems the Public Security Bureau isn’t playing around anymore when it comes to proper work permits.

One of the foreigners suspected of working illegally. (Shenzhen Daily)

The Shenzhen Daily is reporting today that “several” foreigners were arrested at English-training schools in Nanshan District, home of Shekou and a large population of foreign residents. The arrested teachers were apparently “taken away” by the PSB’s Nanshan District Sub-bureau for “illegal employment”:

The bureau did not reveal how many foreigners had been arrested or give further details as investigations into the cases are still continuing.

At present, there are about 13,000 foreign residents living in Nanshan District, accounting for 42 percent of the expatriate population in the city.

According to the Shenzhen Administration of Foreign Experts, about 11,000 foreigners with valid work permits were employed in Shenzhen last year, accounting for about 60 percent of the city’s foreign-worker population.

As always, the city is reminding foreigners they must hold valid teaching certificates and proper work visas to be employed in Shenzhen. No word on what kind of punishment these teachers may be in for.

China is starting to take the issue of visas and work permits a little more seriously after some convicted criminals from overseas have found their way into teaching positions at Chinese schools.

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