Foreign Students to Work in China: Latest Policy Change in 2022
The Measures for the Adminration of Work-Study for International Students in Institutions of Higher Learning published at the end of 2021 is the first edition of the more detailed normative document issued by the People's Republic of China specifically for the work-study activities of international students. (The original text and English translation of the Measures are attached below.) Although other laws and regulations have previously regulated the work-study behavior of international students, there is no unified and specific document to guide it in detail. Therefore, the release of these measures is of great significance. It shows that China's laws and regulations on the management of international students are gradually improving, and they are moving towards an open road. So what are the key points of the newly issued document that deserve our attention? Let me interpret it for you:
First of all, the newly promulgated document continues the previous regulations on the duration and salary of work-study in the Measures for the Administration of Work-Study in Institutions of Higher Learning, that is, "In principle, the time for students to participate in work-study shall not exceed 8 hours per week and 40 hours per month", and clarified that "During the winter and summer vacations, the time for students to participate in work-study shall not exceed 16 hours per week and 80 hours per month in principle". In terms of treatment, whether it is on-campus or off-campus work-study, the remuneration standards for international students and Chinese students are still similar, that is, not lower than the local minimum living standard or minimum wage standard.
As far as on-campus work-study is concerned, it is foreseeable that on-campus work-study positions open to Chinese students may be gradually opened to international students. On the other hand, on-campus work-study positions with international characteristics that are specially open to international students may appear. Compared with off-campus work-study, on-campus work-study is simpler in procedure, more convenient, standardized, and more secure, but the salary level may not be high.
These measures put forward some prerequisites for international students to engage in off-campus work-study activities. It specifically mentions that only international students who have studied continuously in the current school for more than one year can participate in off-campus work-study activities, which means that freshmen do not have the eligibility to participate in off-campus work-study activities. At the same time, the measures mentioned that only international students with "the remaining valid residence time of more than six months" can participate in off-campus work-study, which means that many international students holding short-term study visas/residence permits are also restricted from participating in off-campus work-study programs. In addition, the geographical scope of work-study shall be limited to the municipal administrative area with districts where the school is located.
It is worth noting that these measures do not restrict or guide the off-campus work-study positions, employer types, industries, professional qualifications, and so on. Are international students qualified to engage in language teaching jobs in off-campus work-study activities? Can international students work as entertainers or even bar DJs? It is expected that these specific questions can be answered in the implementation rules of the work-study management measures for international students to be promulgated by local governments/schools.
It should be reminded that if your work-study behavior exceeds the time and scope stipulated by the law, you will still face the risk and punishment of "illegal employment", such as fines, detention, and even deportation. Therefore, let's abide by the law when engaging in work-study activities.
Although these measures have been promulgated by the end of 2021, it will still take some time for provincial education administrative departments and colleges and universities to formulate detailed work-study implementation rules for international students, especially to further regulate the conduct of off-campus work-study activities. Let's be patient. After all, they are already on the way to legalizing part-time jobs for international students. I believe that the future of studying in China will be bright and the dream of studying in China will be easier to realize.
Article 1 For the purpose of regulating the work-study activities of international students in institutions of higher learning, improving the education level of opening to the outside, in accordance with the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China, Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreigners, Provisions on the Administration of Students in Regular Institutions of Higher Education, and Administrative Measures for the Enrollment and Cultivation of International Students by Schools, these measures are formulated.
Article 2 These measures shall apply to institutions of higher learning offering higher education for academic qualifications (hereinafter referred to as schools/universities).
Article 3 The term "work-study" as mentioned in these measures refers to the practical activities of international students to improve their study and living conditions by obtaining legal remuneration through labor in their spare time under the organization and management of the school, excluding the teaching practice and social practice organized by the school for international students according to the teaching plan.
Article 4 The in and out of school work-study activities of international students shall be conducted under the unified leadership and overall arrangement of the university, in accordance with the principles of spare capacity for learning, voluntary application, giving priority to helping the poor and abiding by laws and regulations. The university shall formulate relevant implementation rules to clarify the specific measures of work-study for international students, the rights and responsibilities of corresponding internal functional departments.
Article 5 In principle, international students should work no more than 8 hours per week and no more than 40 hours per month. During summer and winter vacation, no more than 16 hours per week, no more than 80 hours per month.
Article 6 The university shall not arrange or authorize students to participate in toxic, harmful and dangerous production activities, and shall ensure that international students engaged in work-study activities have purchased insurance covering work-study activities.
Article 7 On-campus work-study positions for international students should be mainly on-campus teaching assistants, scientific research assistants, administrative assistants, and school public services. The post setting should not only meet the needs of students but also avoid occupying normal study time. The salary expenses of international students' on-campus work-study activities shall be arranged by the university as a whole.
Article 8 Work-study international students are paid according to the following standards: fixed positions on campus are paid monthly. In principle, the remuneration for 40 working hours per month shall not be lower than the minimum living standard of local residents and may fluctuate appropriately.
Temporary positions on campus are paid by the hour. The hourly remuneration can be reasonably determined with reference to the minimum hourly wage standard stipulated by the people's government where the school is located.
The remuneration standard of off-campus work-study should not be lower than the minimum wage standard stipulated by the local people's government or relevant departments, which shall be determined by the employer through consultation with the students, and the amount of remuneration shall be stated in the employment agreement.
Article 9 International students engaged in off-campus work-study activities shall meet the following basic requirements:
(1) Be at least 18 years old and meet the physical conditions required by the work-study post;
(2) Hold a valid residence permit for study in China with a remaining valid residence period of at least six months;
(3) Abide by the laws and regulations of the People's Republic of China, the rules and regulations of the University, have good conduct and good performance, and have no criminal record or violation of discipline;
(4) Undergraduate students, junior college students, postgraduate students, advanced students or research scholars who have studied continuously for more than one year at the current university;
(5) Academic progress and attendance meet the requirements of the university;
(6) Other conditions stipulated by the university.
Article 10 The student shall submit a copy of the agreement signed with the employer to the university for the record, and at the same time submit a unilateral commitment letter to make commitments on risk-taking and other aspects.
Article 11 International students engaged in work-study activities outside the school shall apply for a residence permit with the work-study related information such as the workplace and duration added from the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the local public security organ where the school is located within 10 days according to the relevant regulations by presenting the agreement, the school certification letter and relevant materials. The holder of the residence permit without work-study relevant information is not allowed to engage in work-study activities outside the school.
International students who want to change the off-campus work-study workplace and duration should apply for changing the annotation information to the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the local public security organ within 10 days by presenting the new agreement and the school certification letter.
International students who terminate off-campus work-study activities due to reasons such as the employer’s termination of the agreement should submit a written report to the school within ten days, and go through the modification of the annotation information to the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the local public security organ.
Article 12 The geographical scope of work-study shall be limited to the municipal administrative area with districts where the school is located. The duration of work-study for each application shall not exceed the validity period of the study residence permit, and the maximum period shall not exceed one year.
Article 13 If the international student has any of the following circumstances, the university shall cancel his/her work-study qualification and promptly report to the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the public security organ:
(1) Having completed the study, not succeed graduated, suspended or dropped out of school;
(2) In violation of national laws and regulations or the relevant management systems of the university;
(3) Having the inferior moral quality or violating public order and good customs, thus causing adverse effects;
(4) Other circumstances that are deemed by the school to be unsuitable for continuing work-study, such as affecting studies due to work-study, etc.
Article 14 International students whose work-study activity exceeds the specified scope or time limit shall be investigated and punished by the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the public security organ in accordance with the law.
Article 15 All provincial education administrative departments shall coordinate and supervise the work-study activities of international students in their administrative areas in conjunction with local public security, immigration management, human resources and social security departments, and guide schools in their administrative areas to formulate and improve the implementation rules of work-study for international students in combination with their own and local actual conditions, implement dynamic management on the scope of work-study posts for international students according to relevant local regulations.
Article 16 The university shall earnestly fulfill the principal responsibility of the administration of work-study for international students, strengthen the daily education, inspection and tracking management, and standardize the on-campus and off-campus work-study activities of international students.
Article 17 These Measures shall take effect as of the date of printing and issuing.