Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The Legalities Board: Visas, Permits, Taxes, and More! (ON-TOPIC) => Topic started by: cruisemonkey on November 10, 2015, 02:07:53 PM

Title: The Five Year Rule
Post by: cruisemonkey on November 10, 2015, 02:07:53 PM
What do you know about the 'Five Year Rule'? -

Last week, I re-signed for my fifth year (at the same uni) from Feb. 1, '16 to Jan. 31, '17. This morning, I went for the yearly medical required for my new RP, and the FAO informed me it would be my last contract due to Immigration's 'Five Year Rule' i.e. in Jan. '17, I will have to leave China for a minimum of six months before I can come back on a 'Z'. The FAO seemed quite sure the was no way 'around' the rule.

You'd figure anything to do with Immigration would be 'national'... but this is China. It seems to me, a lot of people have been here for way more than five years. How do you get around it? Is it something specific to my province (Henan)? Could I get a job somewhere else in China (where they don't have the 'Five Year Rule') without having to leave for six months?


Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: Isidnar on November 10, 2015, 03:17:06 PM
...
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: old34 on November 10, 2015, 03:35:41 PM
What do you know about the 'Five Year Rule'? -

Last week, I re-signed for my fifth year (at the same uni) from Feb. 1, '16 to Jan. 31, '17. This morning, I went for the yearly medical required for my new RP, and the FAO informed me it would be my last contract due to Immigration's 'Five Year Rule' i.e. in Jan. '17, I will have to leave China for a minimum of six months before I can come back on a 'Z'. The FAO seemed quite sure the was no way 'around' the rule.

You'd figure anything to do with Immigration would be 'national'... but this is China. It seems to me, a lot of people have been here for way more than five years. How do you get around it? Is it something specific to my province (Henan)? Could I get a job somewhere else in China (where they don't have the 'Five Year Rule') without having to leave for six months?

Zhejiang?

They sometimes dust-off the Five Year Rule in the Education Ministry there to approve/disapprove new FEC certificates. Depends on what school you are working for and whether your school's FAO has the guanxi to get it through.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: cruisemonkey on November 11, 2015, 01:17:28 AM
You sure they just don't want you back?

Perhaps, but logic and their actions would seem to dictate otherwise -
If they didn't want me back, they could have not renewed my current contract (I re-signed just last week for 2016-17). They have trouble recruiting foreign teachers - we're currently one 'short' - not many laowai want to work in the boonies of a hillbilly province. I'm well-liked by the students, the administration (as far as I know) and my colleagues. I'm reliable - one sick day in four years - and of course, devastatingly handsome.  ;)

I don't 'get it'... you'd think they'd be bending over backwards to keep me.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: psd4fan on November 11, 2015, 01:40:34 AM
I've almost completed my 9th year here in Harbin and have signed another contract.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on November 11, 2015, 03:51:00 AM
Maybe they never before had anyone they liked stick around long enough to give them a reason to see how strict the enforcement of the rule is.

Hope no one tells my wife about the 5 year rule.  She might try to use that on our 5th wedding anniversary. ahahahahah
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 11, 2015, 05:08:09 AM
Maybe they're aging you out?

As it happens this is my fifth consecutive year in any one place too.  aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: Isidnar on November 11, 2015, 11:59:30 AM
...
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: The Local Dialect on November 11, 2015, 02:48:08 PM
I have a friend who had it enforced on her in I think, Shanxi? Some of these less desirable places seem to enjoy trotting it out. I've never heard of it enforced in Yunnan, nor had I heard of anyone having had it enforced when I lived in Beijing.

If you don't want to leave China, I'd try to look for a job elsewhere. Not every place enforces (or even has?) this rule.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: old34 on November 11, 2015, 02:50:23 PM
I attended  a speech given by the then retired former head of the Cultural Affairs section of national SAFEA in Beijing. During the speech, he mentioned the 5 Year Rule. I asked him some questions afterward and he told me there is such  law/regulation on the books, but that national SAFEA takes no position on the rule and leaves it up to the local provincial/city Foreign Expert Bureaus FEBs) and or local provincial/city Education Departments (who initially approve/disapprove credentials) before the material is sent to the local FEB for processing the Foreign Expert Certificate (FEC) which is needed to apply for a new Residence Permit (RP). He told me the national SAFEA leaves it up to the locals whether to use the rule or not, but that it is on the books.

I did find it once online:
Source: http://middlekingdomlife.com/guide/files/5yr_rule_cn.pdf (http://middlekingdomlife.com/guide/files/5yr_rule_cn.pdf) Scroll down to the red highlight in Part 4. There it is in Chinese.

I was able to score a ride with him and his driver as we were going in the same general direction, and during the ride, we talked about it further. he told me the main impetus of the original rule was that "Foreign Experts" in whatever field (and SAFEA isn't limited to teachers and education) need to keep their skills upgraded-STEM Foreign Experts for example-so should return to their homeland for updated STEM.

I pointed out that I basically agree with the concept, but that most of the SAFEA realm relates to Education and English, and with the plethora of English Education websites both here and abroad, it's fairly easy for English teachers to continue to upgrade their skills here without having to return home and spend thousands of DOLLARS on supplemental teacher training just to qualify for another chance to teach in China after one year in the penalty box.

"You will lose your best and brightest Foreign Teachers- the ones who are or become committed to teaching here. It takes a hella lot of effort to get past your first year teaching in China - and if you can make it through to the 5th year, why push the reset button? New foreign teachers are much bigger pains-in-the-asses to deal with. than 5+ year teachers.

He seemed to agree with me, but mentioned two things (of course). The longer you are at a school, the more you know it's skeletons. True dat.

Also, they can dust off the rule and use it when needed to non-renew someone in a Chinese way-avoiding confrontation.   

i happened to be at a dinner a couple of years later seated next to him and (he remembered me.) We renewed the conversation about the 5 Year Rule and he said it was being reconsidered, but was still on the books.

The Takeaway advice from me:  Which province/locality is doing it?

And which department? Local FEB/ Education Dept./ PSB?

These are all separate departments with their own foibles and rules.

Foreigners tend to group everything into CHINA.

CHINA IS NOT A MONOLITH.
 
If you have a problem here, you need to identify where the bottleneck is coming from.






Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: old34 on November 11, 2015, 02:59:10 PM
SHIT, that prolly came across as outing at cruisemonkey, but that wasn't my intention at all. My meaning was find out from your FAO which branch (Ed./FEB/PSB) is pulling the 5 Year Rule out of the hat.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: cruisemonkey on November 11, 2015, 10:50:52 PM
Old34... no worries.  bfbfbfbfbf  (and thanks for the detailed explanation).

Maybe they're aging you out?

That crossed my mind - I'll be 60 next July. It doesn't seem to be the case though. Yesterday, I ran into one of the 'more competent' FAO people and asked her about the 5YR. She confirmed I will have to leave China for six months, but didn't seem to think it was a big deal. She said I could come back and start a new contract the following semester - September 2017. I asked about turning 60 and was told I will just have to sign a paper stating I am in "good health" - I'm thinking it can't be quite that simple though and it must have something to do with the 'medical insurance' (perhaps it'll be void?). I asked about what I could do with all my possessions while I was gone - I've bought a lot of things over the last four years including: a really good mattress, six floor & table lamps, an oven, kitchen supplies etc., and just recently a very expensive office chair - and was told "No problem... we can store it all for you" (there are many empty apartments in the building).

It's a total pain in the ass. The Chinese seem to think I can just go 'home' for six months. I don't have a home in Canada to go back to (and wouldn't want to even if I did). Since I've been in China, my mom has died and my father has sold the house (he's 90 and is now in a 'rest home'). The Chinese don't really seem to grasp the fact my apartment at the uni is my home.

I really like it here. If the uni will guarantee me another contract (starting Sept. 2017), I will leave, 'bum' around SE Asia and park my ass near a Chinese Embassy when the time comes to get a new 'Z'... and come back. If they won't make a guarantee, I will (try) to find a Chinese uni that will hire a 60-year-old and move there (assuming I'm successful in the search).

I've put a lot of work into getting my apartment 'fixed up'. It's by far the best/nicest of all the foreign teachers' (and the Chinese). I've: 'westernized' the bathroom, fixed the plumbing, installed lights, towel bars & shelving etc. ... and 'decorated' (it took two years to get it to the point it is now). I doubt it's possible, but ideally (if they promise I can come back) they would allow me to leave everything in the apartment and 'lock it up' for six months without having someone else move in.

We'll see... I still have over a year to 'tee it all up'.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on November 12, 2015, 12:12:27 AM
If your school is the kind where the Chinese staff seem to stay on in the same positions for years at a time, like the actual foreign affairs officer is the same person it's always been, and his/her staff are the same (though they may rotate in different students as dogsbodies), and for instance the building superintendent is the same man you've always seen, then I'd be guessing a six-month sabbatical would work. That is, they would recognise you coming back after six months as a real thing and something you could probably plan for. I've seen it work like that where I am. Over the years, people have taken time off and come back a semester later to the same apartments. But....

The apartment's not yours and no one there thinks it is. While you're gone, people with keys may come and go. Depends on the people of course, but this coming and going would be part of their job. Like, the maintenance guy would clean the place and check up on stuff. Having everyone respect the physical security of that one apartment and the stuff you leave there would be the tricky part of this arrangement. (You could change the locks.)
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: El Macho on November 12, 2015, 05:31:14 AM
When I was in Zhejiang last year (2014), I was only going to be able to get a one semester contract because I had been in China for 4.5 years. The FAO explained that SAFEA there were unbending on the five years rule. They were desperate for a FT, and I believed them when they said they couldn't do anything about it. They were offering to enroll me as a student so I could have a visa and then pay me in cash for teaching. (In Zhejiang it was all about guanxi…the JV uni in the same city had no such problems getting visas for teachers who had been there for more than five years.)

I've got loads of friends in other provinces who have been in China for 10+ years and have never heard a word about the 5 year rule. As old said, enforcement varies from place to place, and it's a handy law to have on the books as a way to get rid of folks.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: Isidnar on November 12, 2015, 03:06:45 PM
...
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: cruisemonkey on November 12, 2015, 09:26:57 PM
I got the sense the 'retirement requirement' was up to the university mandarins. I know they don't (initially) hire people over 60. However -

When FAO person #1 informed me of the 5YR, I asked if I could come back after six months. She was unsure - because I will be over 60 - and told me "That is up to the president... maybe... I don't know".

When I spoke to (on the way to class) FAO person #2 (who is more on the ball than #1) and asked her about the 5YR, she 'confirmed' and added "You can come back after six months". I reminded her I'll be turning 60 next summer and by the time I'd be 'coming back' - Sept. 2017 - I'll be 61. She said "That's no problem... you just have to sign a paper stating you're in good health". When I asked what I could do with all my possessions, she said "That's no problem... we can store them for you... there are lots of empty rooms".

We did have a foreign teacher leave for six months and return. I don't know if it was because of the 5YR or not. It may well have been - he was here when I arrived (Feb. 2012), and had been for a while (how long exactly I don't know). He found his own 'replacement' (a woman he knew who was already in China) who moved into his apartment. It was my understanding the replacement was initially hired on a six month contract, but she 'stayed on' for another semester after he returned. He came back and worked for one semester before leaving again. Now, both of them have left (for good), and I can't ask them what 'the deal' was. I'll ask FAO person #2.

At this point, whether I'll be able to come back is uncertain, but seems a possibility. If I get a 'guarantee', I'll travel for six months and come back. If they won't give me a 'guarantee', I'll leave and move on.

Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: ericthered on November 14, 2015, 12:32:00 AM
I was slapped with the five year rule a while back. It was right after the minions in Mordor retired the last Dark Lord and the National Council of Ring-Wraiths elected a new Dark Lord. I am sure you saw the big ceremony on CCT9. Anyway, all the minions were then terribly afraid of losing their job and thus  became, for the first time in their existence, extremely effective. My university, which has been around since 1955, was suddenly told that there was a 5-year-rule and they were mildly surprised. It so happens that when a flurry of anal-rentiveness hits China, the suited kobolds in the hallowed halls of government gets it real bad. So what my uni did was get the top Beholder to sign a letter to the effect that I am a valued slave and my services are much needed. Then I had to go home and apply for a visa, with letter and such, and then I came back and the clock was reset. So I have another 5 years. The land of Mordor is not very well organized and the chief Uruk-Hai's are not all in agreement about the rules. So, in my humble  opinion, if the mid-level hobgoblin in charge of renewing sputters some gibberish about rules, then it is an excuse. In Mordor this is often the case. As most of the lower level goblins, kobolds, perambulating sime molds and the occasional zombie are all taught to employ a sinister and complicated form of Orwellian double-speak it can be difficult to figure out their true motives. However, in one is not a native to Mordor, it is my experience that the "It is the rule that...blahblahblah" usually means they are lying but believe as you do not read or speak Mordorian there is no way you can possibly root out the truth.
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: Isidnar on November 14, 2015, 04:02:28 PM
...
Title: Re: The Five Year Rule
Post by: AMonk on November 14, 2015, 10:09:49 PM
 axaxaxaxax agagagagag