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Author Topic: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall... (THE VISA NIGHTMARE!)  (Read 110441 times)

Raoul F. Duke

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A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall... (THE VISA NIGHTMARE!)
« on: April 25, 2008, 12:17:21 PM »
This is just coming up as a general notice to readers that the visa situation in China is rapidly descending into madness. We are experiencing a massive crackdown on visas in the months leading up to the Olympics.

The word I have now is that tourist (L) visas are not being granted for a period of more than 30 days. To be here on a tourist visa, you now have to leave the country every month to go buy a new visa. A VERY expensive proposition for most people...for many the cost of a trip to Hong Kong and the cost of the visa will eat all or most of their monthly salary.

New business (F) visas simply can't be had. Chinese Consulates are not willing or able to issue them.

Residence permits can still be gotten from companies licensed to hire foreign workers, but the schools are getting pretty tight-fisted with them. A great many schools obtain residence permits, without our knowledge, through methods that are, uh, well,...not entirely on the up-and-up. Many places, when submitting documents to the police and the Labor Bureau, quietly substitute your contract for a phony one from another entity who has residence permit rights to sell. Police in many cities are taking closer looks at contracts and licenses, refusing permits, and prosecuting schools getting permits illegally. A lot of schools that issued residence permits before are now suddenly finding themselves unable to do it again. I've just been through one of these myself.

Conversion of visa types (such as an L to an F or residence permit) seems to be at a standstill.

Personally, I seem to be squeaking through this one by virtue of being married to a Chinese national; I am getting a Spouse visa. Even that is proving a challenge. I'm EXTREMELY irked that I have to use this route, as those who know my charming wife can attest, but it's the only way I can stay in the country right now.

I'm already seeing many friends who have no choice but to leave the country. I fear that most of this wave is yet to come.

If this trend goes as foreseen, an awful lot of expats are going to be rolling up their packs and shipping out soon. This will leave a lot of schools high and dry; I expect that they will become pretty desperate for foreign teachers and turn to all sorts of means to try and lure people over here.

I've always said it, but now it seems truer than ever: Don't take a job in China that will not firmly promise you a residence permit. If possible, have the Z Visa in your passport before you get on the plane; the process of converting tourist visas has gone from iffy to impossible. Foreigners living and working here on anything short of a residence permit are even more vulnerable than usual.

If you're already here and want to renew with your school, a private meeting to make damn sure they can come through when crunch time comes around might be a good idea.

Be careful out there. More on this situation as it develops...
« Last Edit: May 28, 2008, 10:26:32 PM by Raoul Duke »
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kcanuck

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2008, 01:24:25 PM »
Our school sent a letter of invitation to my replacement this week.  He's been vacationing in Cambodia and went to the Chinese Embassy with all his papers (he has an MBA and four years teaching in China) and they said they were not issuing Z visas.  They told him to go to Hong Kong.
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ericthered

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2008, 01:44:41 PM »
Eeek...those are not good news.
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dragonsaver

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2008, 01:53:10 PM »
My current visa is good till Aug 31/08.  Last year they renewed my Z and residence permit before I flew home for holiday.  I wonder if they will have to renew me once I arrive back in China? (I fly back Aug 20).

I think I might ask the person in charge of getting visas next week.
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Noodles

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 03:19:09 PM »
Quote
I am getting a Spouse visa. Even that is proving a challenge

Are you talking about the elusive 'D' visa or is this the spouse 'L' i have heard about.
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2008, 07:51:47 PM »
I am honestly not sure yet. My charming wife is cooking all this up back in her home town, where grown men tremble and small children run in fear at the mention of her name. uuuuuuuuuu

My suspicion, though, is that this is a spouse L.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Schnerby

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2008, 11:45:08 PM »
So perhaps the song and dance routine I'm performing at the Chinese consulate is simply part of this process.

Super annoying!  asasasasas

kcanuck

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2008, 12:03:30 AM »
Schnerby, I recall reading that you are a journalist...you may have to dance a little harder to get in...good luck
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becster79

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2008, 05:17:42 AM »
Well, I'm supposed to be renewing my contract for another couple of years (just still fine tuning the salary!) and my RP is valid til 23 August- but I don't plan to fly back til at least the 25 (deliberatly AFTER that thing in Beijing). So I've warned my FAO he will need to renew before I leave. I also warned him of all this talk about visa probs. He doesn't seem at all fazed and that there won't be any probs. I know this school is licenced for teachers because VSO have been here. I just don't know how much time/ weeks to give my passport to him to get this done before I leave!

Still, will have another chat to him on Monday on the way to the dentist....which is a pain because every time I ask him about something I need he always complains he's so busy. I started talking to him about the contract 3 weeks ago and STILL don't know what's happening, pay rise etc!
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Con ate dog

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2008, 06:07:31 AM »
Still awaiting my new passport, upon the receipt of which my school will get me a new residence permit.  Mind you, I have racked up a huge late fine...  me no sleep good.  amamamamam
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becster79

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2008, 07:49:15 AM »
Con, are you sure? Why are you getting a new passport? Renewal? If so, the other RP should still be valid...even if you threw it down the loo it would still be okay (and yes, I know a FT who did this...)
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MK

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2008, 11:43:15 AM »
Here's a quick link to a Tapei Times article on the student thing:

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2008/04/18/2003409598

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2008, 12:37:25 PM »
You have to be really careful here. Many school FAOs will cheerfully look you in the eye for months and say "no problem, no problem"...and then later when the rubber meets the road they suddenly shrug and say "Mei-you. Bu hao yi si." (Mandarin for "You up the creek without a paddle, big nose") I've had this happen to me a few times myself, and heard of it many more. And that was out in the good old days... llllllllll
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2008, 01:45:26 PM »
An addendum in the public interest- When dealing with school management on this matter, to make sure communications are crystal clear, allow me to suggest you learn to say, use, and love the following phrase in Chinese:

"Ni3 ru2 guo3 bu2 gei1 wo3 jv1 liu2 zheng4, wo3 zai4 lai2 yao4 la1 chu1 ni3 de fei4"
("If you don't give me a residence permit, I will come rip your lungs out.") asasasasas
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

icebear

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Re: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall...
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2008, 02:34:50 AM »
The no F thing is really screwing a lot of people over. The consultancy I work at has about a third of staff (6-8 workers) with F visas expiring between now and August 1. The Chinese co-owner has so far stated that they'll figure something out, but as time goes on it is increasingly visible that she is rattled and without clear recourse. She has been told that new F's will only be issued on direct invitation from the Ministry of Commerce. Given our line of work that is most likely possible, but I doubt they want blow that much guanxi in one go. aoaoaoaoao

In the event that those visas really can't be had it will mean dire consequences for the company. They are authorized to get Z's as well, but only a certain number - I think this is limited by the total value of foreign investment in the company.

Looks like I may be taking a holiday Aug-Sept. Pity, I already have one planned in July too. bfbfbfbfbf