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How to emigrate to China Print E-mail

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 00:00

Written by Jane Grimshaw

The People’s Republic of China is seen as the land of opportunity by many Western companies, and a great number of their employees are now seizing valuable opportunities to live and work out there. China has much to offer as it has the second largest economy in the world after the USA, and is the largest in Asia.  

Getting into China requires a visa based on your purpose for being in the country, such as employment, education or tourism, and if you wish to stay on a long term basis you will have to be in some way connected to an organization. If, on the other hand, you have dreams of starting your own business, then you may need to think again as all work permits require a corporate sponsor. The only possible hope you would have of getting a visa in this situation would be by contacting one of the visa companies in Hong Kong, but their services don’t come cheap.      

Visa applications need to be obtained from your nearest Chinese consulate or embassy. You will then have to wait until you have arrived in China before you can actually apply for a residence permit. You will have 30 days to do this before your visa expires a few months later - as it is the residency permit that actually gives you the legal right to live in China and not the visa. You should then be issued with a green card (a permanent residency permit) which accompanies the D visa and is renewable every ten years. Once you have moved into your fixed residence, you will then need to take your passport and any other documentation to your local Public Security Bureau within ten days. When you have registered with them, your permit will be linked to your address in China.

China has very strict immigration laws and you must of course be over 18 to apply for a visa in the first place, as well as being in good health with no criminal record. You must also have the appropriate skills and experience required for the job you are going to do in China. If you are married and have a family, your spouse and children will also receive the same type of visa and residency permit; although each member of your family must fill out an individual application, which will of course incur fees.  

The first thing that hits most people when they arrive in China is how crowded it is and that the Chinese live in very modest circumstances compared to most Westerners. Few of them speak very much English, either, so your multilingual skills will come in very useful here and the Chinese will appreciate your efforts.

If you need to find a school in China, it is best to opt for an international one and there are plenty in the cities. There are many local schools too, but most are very overcrowded (over 50 in a class) and are best avoided. The fees are very high for international schools, though, but it is possible that your employer will offer to pay the fees for you.

The Chinese are generally a very friendly race, and the best way to get to know people and make possible business contacts is to mix with the locals; eat at local eating establishments and ask them to recommend dishes for you to try.  It is important to remember that the Chinese culture is based on associations of trust, and hierarchy and punctuality are very important in the business world.


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