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Is it possible to change employer after the end of one contract without going back home?


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Hi everyone.

I've been working in Shenzhen as an electronic engineer for almost one year now. My contract will end June 23rd. Thus, my work permit and visa / residence permit also expire June 23rd. I want to go work for a different company, but my current employer won't let me out of my contract, won't cancel my work permit and won't give me a release letter because they don't want me to go work for anybody else (I'm not talking about their competitors, I want to change job and go make totally different products).

The good news is, my new prospective employer is ok with hiring me at the end of June, after my contract ends.

I have been asking in all the labor and visa offices in Shenzhen through a Chinese friend that works in this new company, but they all told me I can only wait until the end of the contract and then go back home (to Italy) and make a new work visa.

A lawyer even told me that I have to wait for 3 months after my contract and work permit expires for it to be canceled, and then apply for a new work visa.

Another foreign friend of mine heard instead that it is possible to extend your work visa for one month when it's about to expire and apply for a new work permit during that month, without having to leave China.

I don't know what to believe and I would really appreciate it if someone could share their experience in this field.

Thanks in advance for any clarity that you could provide.



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HI. As you're in Guangdong, I would think that the only documents you need are a work record and a record showing the cancellation of your Foregin Expert's Certificate. As you probably know, the system has changed, and among other documents, the release letter is no longer required.  At least that is my experience in Guangzhou. 

I don't know about the contract though. That is a legally binding document that must have some provision for canceling it in breach, meaning you would have to pay a penalty. But perhaps your new employers can work something out for you. Finally, I don't know if you can cancel your Foreign Experts Certificate by yourself. 

I would rely on your new employer to get you through this mess, and/or get a good agent. Your situation is a lot thornier than mine. Everything for me expires at the end of June anyway. My problem is no visa for July, and unable to leave the country without starting over from scratch!

Good luck! I'm sure it will work out for you.

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