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Z visa position


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Hello. I'm a non-native, so I have to go through some problems to get Z visa. What about the situation when the company send you an invitation letter and work permit and you are making legal Z visa. Everything seems right, except that by this visa you are not a teacher, but with some other position. They are trying to convince you that it's legal to work like this, but it's obviously not legal, right? In my opinion, you should work only as it states in your work permit.
There are not so many information about this situation in China. Can you give me your experience on this or just opinion? I guess, I will find another place anyway - don't want to take any risks. Thank you.

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Chris Two Times

I'm not  quite sure what the issue is. Z (gongZuo 工作) visa is indeed the visa you want to enter the country legally to then proceed to converting this visa into a residence permit, again to legally be able to work in the country.


That is a good sign if the company has sent you an invitation letter and copy of work permit. These are the golden ticket documents needed to then apply for the Z visa at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate.


If you are indeed attempting to gain a teaching position, then you would want to acquire the Z visa to enter the country to work; the Z visa will be the first step in allowing you to do so. Again, you should then convert this Z visa to a residence permit within 30 days of entering China.


Ah! I see...does your work permit specifically state another position?

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Well, I thought work permit is given for some definite occupation. If I come as accountant(for example), get a residence permit and everything, but by the documents I will still be an accountant - I'm not allowed to teach. Won't it be illegal to work as a teacher after this?
They said it's a usual practice for training centers and there is nothing illegal, but still I'm not quite sure. I don't know how training centers are usually hire people, what their occupation is.

On the other hand it will be a really small city and no one would really care as long as you came on Z visa and get residence permit, right?

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The 'usual practice' used to be tourist visa+visa runs, but with the relatively new visa regulations, your situation may be the new 'usual practice'. Still illegal, but now under the guise of a Z visa for another profession.


The real takeaway from the new visa regulations is they are asking to have diplomas, etc authenticated. If you have the required diploma from an English speaking country and experience, then you're set. But if you don't have the right background yet can still get the fake documents authenticated, then good on you. It's not doing right by your students, but whatever.

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What do you mean by "get the fake documents authenticated"? I have a diploma from non-native country as a teacher of English. It's verified by Chinese embassy - it was needed when I got my first Z visa(real one, as a teacher).
I asked them what the occupation will be and they said "We have different position, such as marketing director, consulate manager, software manager, etc.".
Also, they keep telling me that government allow it and left this option for kindergartens and training centers, I can check it with Exit and Entry bureau, and other stuff. I don't think it's a truth and when agents lie it usually means you will have problems later.

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China has been tightening up on regulations related to who can teach English. In some cases they are not even accepting folks with degrees from countries like South Africa, where a lot of the folks are actually native English speakers. They seem to be applying this in the big cities first (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou), but usually those rules start to be applied on a wider basis over time. It's creating a problem because the pay for native English teachers isn't generally good enough to lure enough people who would qualify (bachelor's degree from English speaking country, two years of teaching experience or Master's degree). Companies are trying to find ways around it like what you have described. It does mean that you could be found in violation of laws in China. The company is assuming that it won't happen and depending on things the chances might be low, but you're correct that there is some risk. The company will also be in trouble if the government finds out you're working for them in a position that you are not qualified to work in, but either they're focused on the short term benefits and/or they thing they can avoid big consequences for themselves.

The local authorities may very well turn a blind eye now. It's impossible to say if that will continue to be the case over time. The issue is that so many things in China are done in ways other than by the rules as stated. It's not unusual to find the authorities knowingly work around regulations. It doesn't make these things legal, but Chinese tend not to worry about it. 

So for instance, I have two dogs. You're supposed only to be able to register 1 dog per household. I have one registered to a friend's home. I know lots of other Chinese people around either don't have registered dogs or they do the same thing I do. I've never been asked for either dogs' registration. However, all the sudden there may be a campaign where they start checking on dogs' registration and it's hard to say what would happen. I'd play dumb and say "Oh, that's my friend's dog who I'm looking after for a bit." All the people in my complex know I have two dogs, but unless this happened and they decided to tell the officials then it probably would be okay. On the other hand, they could pretty easily take one of my dogs away and the officials could have it killed. Living in China you often deal with a certain level of uncertainty like this.

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Wasn't there the story of some guy who had a Z visa residence permit who got deported because the company on his work permit wasn't actually the company he was working for?

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Thank you all for replies. I will continue searching for a place that can provide legal Z visa. Maybe some public school in a small city. I don't really care about anything except working legally.


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