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Kenny同志

Possibility of American working in China with no college degree

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Kenny同志

Hello folks, it has been a while. I hope everyone is doing ok.

 

So here is the background. I have been dating an American girl for about four months. Having similar interests, ideas, philosophy about life, and qualities, we like each other very much and are seriously considering getting married. She knows everything about me and wishes to live with me in China—I cannot go and live in the United States anyway because of my parents.

 

Unfortunately, she does not have a bachelor’s degree. I have read that for a foreigner who wants to work in China, he must hold a bachelor’s degree or above and at least two years of work experience.

 

Is there anyone with similar experience? How do you deal with the situation? Maybe it’s possible for her to get a job without a bachelor’s degree in China after our getting married?

 

Thanks for your help folks.

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Flickserve

Does marrying a Chinese citizen exempt a nonChinese citizen from needing to have a degree for a working visa? Each country has different rules on spouses. After marrying, some countries don’t require the spouse to have a working visa. What’s the situation for China?
 

Is it possible to study for a bachelor degree in China? That could be cheaper than studying in the USA where fees can be quite high. 

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Kenny同志

Thanks for responding to this Flickserve. I have heard that even after marrying, the non-Chinese citizen would be banned from working for five years and I don't even know whether the ban would still be in place after that five year period. But then, I don't know whether this is true.

 

Thanks for reminding me about the expenses of studying in the USA. She has a sponsor but studying in China would certainly be a good idea. I will explore the possibilities of her studying in China. If she could get a scholarship, that would be fantastic. 🙂

 

Lastly, I would really appreciate it if someone who was once faced with a similar situation could share their experience with me. Thanks.

 

 

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xinoxanu

As always, with this kind of topis is best to talk with a lawyer, but, as far as I know, these are her options:

 

  • She can marry you and get a spousal visa. She won't be able to work, neither part or full-time, but many people in this category do so anyway (as you can find people doing so with tourist or business visas as well - but nowadays you have a good chance of being caught and deported!).
  • She can enrol in a local university and get a degree in 4 years time. Difficulty varies depending on the university, but many foreigners are basically only required to attend and do some coursework. She can technically work part-time under this visa, provided she gets permission from both the PSB and the university's office, although max. hours and pay will vary.

 

And some clarifications:

 

  • There's no "green card" concept in China. If you get married and put on a spousal visa, but want to work, you have to forfeit the S visa and apply for a work permit instead. Usually foreigners that came to China for work and married a local never transition to an S visa, unless the partner is rich or they have a "shared" business (i.e: a restaurant) where the laowai can simply say "my wife does all the work, I just clean the dishes if the restaurant is too busy".

 

In China it's not difficult for a partner to be the sole breadwinner: in Chengdu, for example, 2 adults can easily live with 10.000 yuan a month, or even less, and still have a normal life (source: I've done that before).

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Kenny同志

Thanks for your very valuable information, xinoxanu. About studying in China, we talked about this a few hours ago and she probably cannot do that because of the pandemic. 

 

Maybe I will have to be the sole breadwinner...

 

She will get in touch with the college she wants to study at and also her sponsor--an agency she once worked for. She told me that many of her courses can be completed online so maybe she can come and live with me while pursuing her bachelor's degree. 

 

Thanks again xinoxanu. 🙂

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roddy
12 minutes ago, Kenny同志 said:

She will get in touch with the college she wants to study at and also her sponsor--an agency she once worked for. She told me that many of her courses can be completed online so maybe she can come and live with me while pursuing her bachelor's degree.

Is she lined up to get a degree in the US? If so, she would really be better off doing that. Visit China on holidays, maybe take a year out to study in China, but getting that US degree will be worthwhile. 

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xinoxanu

Glad it helped! Many people do their degrees online from a university abroad while within China. If she chooses to do this, she can apply for British universities since: a) they will be way cheaper than an American counterpart (think less than 10.000$ per year) and b) she'll be able to get a degree in only 3 years instead of 4.

 

Also, if you guys choose not to get marry ASAP, she can stay in China by:

 

  • Enrolling in a long-term Chinese course. In Chengdu that's about 3000$ per year (visa, tuition, etc.), less money if you study in remote areas and more if you live in the coast. You are required to go to class 3-4h a day from Monday-Thursday (or Monday-Friday, depending on the uni) but she'll be able to work and support herself, while also having enough time to study for a BA and spend time with you.
  • Americans have access to a 10-year multi entry visa, although she'll have to do visa-runs which I don't recommend. People I know that have gone this route are always in a state of fear of being denied the next entry. Save yourself the trouble and go to Thailand on proper holidays.
  • Doing an internship that offers room and board and some stipend. This is kind of a grey area and you actually have to pay a company for the pleasure of doing an internship, which is wild... but I've seen and hear many things, so it may be worth it.

 

Either way, if you are really serious about this I recommend you to get her inside the country in a 100% legal way, no gray areas whatsoever. I've met many people that are unable to go back to China because they said "f*ck it, if they deport me I'll go live somewhere else", but then they have ended up liking the country and wanting to stay by doing things right... and they can't. Everything in China is recorded and the government knows exactly what are you doing and how, you can't kid anyone anymore.

 

if I were you I'd also wait for more replies on this thread.

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xinoxanu
28 minutes ago, roddy said:

but getting that US degree will be worthwhile. 

 

The information we have is limited, but If she doesn't have already a degree or wasn't planning to get one to start with, I don't think it will be: US degrees are no better than British or German or French ones, and those come at a fraction of the price even for an overseas student (even more now that universities are really going online). She can use the difference in money she is saving to afford living in China in the meanwhile.

 

I know people working for major companies in China (no expat packages) that got a job here on crappy degrees or from unknown universities (from a global point of view... which let's be honest, most of us fall into this category). Maybe for some situations that's not the case (get an MBA from Wharton or don't bother), but if she's looking to move to China and work as an English teacher or in an office, it's all about speaking Chinese, having the required skills, a white face and being a pleasant person what seals the deal - the rest is bureaucracy.

 

Also, yes, you could argue that when she moves back to her country a Chinese degree will be worth jack, but probably she doesn't need any degree back home anyway (assuming she's at least on her 20's and has managed to live as an adult already).

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roddy

True, if she wants to get a UK degree instead.... 

Quote

if she's looking to move to China and work as an English teacher or in an office, it's all about speaking Chinese, having the required skills, a white face and being a pleasant person what seals the deal - the rest is bureaucracy.

For the rest of her life, after numerous dodgy-employment crackdowns, with a steady flow of incoming better-qualified workers? Not a wise approach.

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Kenny同志

Thanks folks. I will show this thread to her and see what her thoughts would be.

A little about my girlfriend: She's 31 and has been working for a few years. She have had some college but have not earned her degree yet. Her study was intermittent. 

@xinoxanu

You are really knowledgeable on the subject. Thank you for sharing all the information. 🙂

@roddy

I am not sure what you mean by ‘lined up for a degree’-I don’t know how things work at American universities. But thanks for your advice. 🙂

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Kenny同志
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For the rest of her life, after numerous dodgy-employment crackdowns, with a steady flow of incoming better-qualified workers? Not a wise approach.

We are planning for future so we are aiming for a proper degree. I also told her that we need to be very practical in choosing her major so it can help with the career path she wants to take. 

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roddy

When you say 'the college she wants to study at' and talk about her courses being available online, I'm assuming you mean she's thinking about getting her degree in the US. Now you've said she has some college - if she can use that to get a degree quicker, that'd be ideal. 

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Kenny同志
11 minutes ago, roddy said:

When you say 'the college she wants to study at' and talk about her courses being available online, I'm assuming you mean she's thinking about getting her degree in the US. Now you've said she has some college - if she can use that to get a degree quicker, that'd be ideal. 

Yes, that's exactly what she is planning to do. But we would also like to consider other options. 

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Lu

I have nothing of substance to contribute, just some extra thoughts. Are you also asking advice at the Chinese part of the internet? You're not the first to want to bring their partner to China, and many countries have a dedicated 'I want to bring my partner into my country' website with a forum where people who have tried this, people who've done this and people who want to do this advice each other. There must be a Wechat group (or many) that can help you.

 

Perhaps ask your girlfriend to also join our forums and this thread, so people can interact with her directly. That will save everyone time and effort (including you).

 

How long and how often has she stayed in China? How is her Chinese? What's her professional background, and what kind of job does she want to do in China?

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xinoxanu
43 minutes ago, roddy said:

 

Quote

if she's looking to move to China and work as an English teacher or in an office, it's all about speaking Chinese, having the required skills, a white face and being a pleasant person what seals the deal - the rest is bureaucracy.

For the rest of her life, after numerous dodgy-employment crackdowns, with a steady flow of incoming better-qualified workers? Not a wise approach.

 

What you are quoting me for implies getting into the country in a 100% legal way. Sure, it's China and you can be screwed by dodgy deals even if you do everything the right way... but to be honest, that's just normal life subjected to the realities of being an adult.

 

"Incoming better-qualified workers" are a thing everywhere and jobs for life are not possible anymore, even in more traditional places like Japan: welders with +30 of experience in the field, however valuable, will eventually be replaced by machines, people without back problems or fresh graduates that are willing to work for peanuts. Or the industry will go bankrupt, look at what happened in Detroit or in Taiwan in the 1980's.Moving forward, many of will be forced to collect unemployment prior to retirement because no certain path is guaranteed to be a success in the long-term.

 

If she can save enough money in China, which is totally possible specially when compared to the US, make some good investments and, most importantly, survive the BS and her time there... then she'll be able to ride the wave until it's the turn for someone else to do so. It's life.

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Kenny同志

Brilliant idea, Lu. I will tell her about this. 🙂

 

Yes, I searched on zhihu and that was where I learned about the requirements for a foreigner to work legally in China. But very few people reply to such topics so I thought I might try my luck at Roddy's place.

 

Some questions I can answer for her:

 

She has been to China only once where she stayed for two months.

Her Chinese is at a beginner's level. 

She works in IT support. 

As for the last question, maybe she wants to be an English teacher but I cannot say for sure. 

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xinoxanu

Yes, building upon what @Lu says,I recommend you the following subreddit for Chinese speakers: https://www.reddit.com/r/China_irl/

 

I am sure there's people there that have been in a similar situation and they'll know better than other places like 知乎.

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Kenny同志

Thanks again xinoxanu. Very useful information. I will check the page out.

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xinoxanu

:)

 

If you have further questions don't hesitate to post them here. I, however, know a lot about a lot of things, but not much beyond the surface of any of them... Hopefully others will chime in with more updated or valuable info.

 

Everybody knows I come here to discuss China and totally unrelated stuff more than the study of the language 哈哈

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roddy
26 minutes ago, Kenny同志 said:

Yes, that's exactly what she is planning to do. But we would also like to consider other options. 

I don't think you'll find a better option than getting a quick US degree. Possibly if, eg, there's big money to be saved and she can see a specific degree she wants to do elsewhere. But even then - getting the undergraduate degree opens a lot of doors. 

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