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Author Topic: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP  (Read 2674 times)

abstract

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Ok, some of you may have already read my review about the school I was working for, so probably know what initial problems I am having, but here's the thing.
The old employer has issued me with a letter, stamped with the company chop, which states that I completed my contractual agreements, including dates I began employment and finished. Says I left on good terms and was a good teacher. But after taking this to my new employer, they have run into a problem. Basically, they say that after speaking to the PSB and labour office, the only way for me to renew my Visa/Residency permit, is for the old employer to go to the Labour office themselves, with the original work permit document and end my employment/registration with the labour office. The old employer says that they are unwilling to do so, but not before stringing me along for two weeks making all kinds of excuses as to why they cant do it just yet. They now say that I have a letter form them, and that should suffice, they have no ties with me anymore, nor I with them, and are not prepared to go to the Labour office to do anything else, nor will they release the original Work permit document to me. My new company has even hired the services of a Visa specialist to try and sort things out, but they have run into the same brick wall, No deregistraion with the Labour office by the old company means no progression with a new Visa application.
I am headed back to the UK on the 23rd of July for a three week holiday, so after reading various other similar stories, I had assumed that my next course of action would be...
  • I go home
  • The new company gets me a letter of invitation (like I got when I initially first came here
  • I go to the Chinese Embassy again in the UK and get a new Z Visa
  • I come back to China and have a new medical, register again with the Police
  • My Z visa gets cancelled and I get a new residency/work permit in my passport
Now whilst this seemed annoying to have to do, as I was already headed home, and given there seemed to be no other available options left, I thought ok, its not all that bad.
But something strange has arisen, which leads me to my main question.
My wife contacted the PSB to ask them what other avenues there may be given that the old company refuses to sort out the required documents. She has been informed that first of all, my current permit needs to have expired, it expires on the 4th August 2009, but further, even when it has expired, unless the old company goes to the Labour office and sorts things out there, I will be unable to apply for a new invitation letter, and therefore also be unable to apply for a new Z Visa, in other words, I can never come back to China and work again!!!!
Whilst I am obviously inclined to take heed of what an official from the authorities is saying, it also doesn't ring true considering the many accounts I have heard of people going home to renew Visas after experiencing similar problems, and I know how quite often, the people who work in Chinese authorities give the wrong information, seems like almost everyone you could ask in the authorities would have a different answer to give you.
Nevertheless, I am really worried sick now, my move here was supposed to be a permanent one, my wife is a Chinese citizen, my new born son of two months is also a local, and we shipped totally everything here when we came last year, so the thought of having to go through all the mess and expense of shipping everything back and sorting out all the families UK visas again is daunting to say the least.
Can anyone please please please give me any clues as to what will happen, Is it really the case that I cannot start again to come and work here, or do you think that this person has got it wrong and I in fact can start the process over again.   

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  • Limboid
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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2009, 11:11:05 AM »
I do want to help but I need to understand some things first.

1.  If you are a teacher, why did the previous employer have you on a Work Permit Authorization booklet instead of a Foreign Expert Certificate?

2.  Your previous employer is at least technically correct insofar as the discharge of duties thing is concerned.  They have issued you with a release.

3.  Something but something just does not make sense with what your new employer is doing.  Very often in China these kind of antics are simply a cover up for trying to run out on a contract.

What concerns me the most, however, is the Work Permit vs. Foreign Expert item.  The two processes are actually quite divergent and the Foreign Expert process is relatively easy to arrange.

Please advise.
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The Local Dialect

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2009, 11:28:59 AM »
I'm not sure if this is relevant or not because your situation is kind of confusing, but I'll tell you what happened with a teacher that I was hiring about 3 years ago when I had my school in Kunming, as it sounds similar.

We had this teacher, and he'd left the school that previously issued him his Z visa and residence permit, as well as his foreign expert's certificate, before his contract was finished and before these documents had officially expired, although on good terms with the employer. They'd written him a release letter as well, and yet, when we applied for his new visa, we ran into problems of a similar sort, as it seems that on the records of the PSB, this teacher was still officially with the original school. They had not turned in the teacher's foreign expert's certificate after he quit or notified the PSB. With a lot of begging and pleading we finally got the old school to fork over the foreign expert's certificate, which we then forked over to the PSB, officially terminating his relationship with that school. Actually schools are supposed to, according to what we were told at the time, turn over these documents when a teacher leaves.

It sounds like something similar (maybe not the exact same thing) needs to happen here. You're still on the record's somewhere as such and such school's teacher, and you will be until your visa and residence permit expire at least. I think what happened with our teacher happened because he left early and was still technically on contract with the other school. You did leave early, right? It might be as simple as the old school needing to relenquish your foreign expert's certificate, because they can't issue you a new one if you still have a foreign expert's certificate out there unaccounted for. At least that was my understanding of our situation with that teacher, although it was several years ago so I might have missed a few details.

abstract

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2009, 01:02:00 PM »
Perhaps I have confused matters, Yes, my previous employer did have me on a foreign expert certificate, I inadvertently called it a work permit, my mistake, sorry. They did not have a work permit authorisation booklet, I started with an invitation, got the foreign experts certificate, got my Z visa in the Uk, and when I got here, they put a residency permit into my passport.
Your second point on the release letter, it is technically a recommendation letter I think, not a release letter, or at least not a proper one.
My new employer has been to the PSB and the Labour office without much success, so decided I was worth paying extra money out for, and paid a specialist Visa company to deal with getting me my Visa. But this company, and also the three visa companies we contacted for help, plus our own personal visit to the PSB and labour office, have all brought forward the same information, that being, unless the old company goes to the Labour office where the foreign experts certificate was issued, and de-registers me from said company
1 - I cannot renew my visa in China
2- Even when my current residency permit expires, cannot start again from the beginning and get a new Z visa in the UK, as I will still be registered as working for the old company, regardless of the fact that visa or residency permit has expired.
One thing that all the visa specialists have said, is that the only reason they can think of as to why my current employer is refusing to do what they are supposed to do for me to work elsewhere, is if they are not paying the taxes they are required to pay on teachers, and/or have not registered myself with the tax office. Even though the foreign teacher is actually tax exempt for something like two or three years to begin with, the company still needs to register you with the tax office so that they know the time period, start and finish, that you should be tax exempt, and when you need to start paying taxes.
I have read another post from a teacher who used to work for this company elsewhere from a couple of years ago, and he also ran in to this very same problem, and he also mentions something about the company being suspected of tax evasion and tax registry failures. I think this is probably not a coincidence to be honest.
Since I posted this earlier today, the Visa company dealing with my situation has rung and said that they think that they can actually proceed and get my visa, but this is obviously still not a 100% certainty.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2009, 01:08:36 PM by abstract »

abstract

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 09:47:00 AM »
So does anyone have any ideas....

abstract

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2009, 06:07:34 AM »
So i am still hoping someone can shine some light on my current visa issue if possible.
I have still had no joy with the old employer, they will not give me the original certificate, and will not go to the labour office and de-register me.
My new company has so far got me the foreign experts certificate, but have run into problems getting the work permit, they have been down there several times about this now and keep being told the same thing, that being that I am currently registered as working for another company and therefore cannot proceed. The old company needs to either...
a) Give me the original document so that the new employer can hand it in
or
b) Go to the labour office themselves and sort the matter out
Neither of which they are willing to do.
Does anyone know what I can do next, I was under the impression, and have read all over the place from other teachers in a similar situation, that if you cannot renew your permit within China due to things like this, that all you need to do is start over again from the beginning. I.E - Go home, and when your current residency permit expires, the new company simply applies for another letter of invitation and foreign experts certificate. Then, I go to the Chinese embassy in my home country and get a new Z visa, come back to China and convert this into a residency permit again along with taking another medical.
But I have been told twice now that as long as the old company does not hand in the original certificate, I will always be registered as working for them, even when my current permit and contract have expired.
Does anyone know if this is true ???? Does this mean that if the company wont help me I will just have to go back home and never be able to return here to work!
Please help, I am really getting desperate and panicking like mad now.   

AMonk

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2009, 06:44:06 AM »

They appear to have you by the short & curlies, ATM. kkkkkkkkkk  It may be that it's time to start hollering.

 mmmmmmmmmm Would going back to the School, in person, and making an infernal nuisance of yourself (loud demands, desk-pounding, etc) do any good?  Or just make you feel better?

I don't know....Just asking....
Moderation....in most things...

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2009, 06:58:04 AM »
I am a little confused here.

1.  You were issued a new Foreign Expert Certificate, is that correct?

2.  You keep talking about the Labor Office, so I am really confused as this is not part of the usual process in China.

3.  Is the PSB refusing to issue a new residence permit?  Is that what you mean?

4.  This is exceptionally bizarre.  If you have a letter of release with a "chop" on it, and if you have a new Foreign Expert Certificate (which is essentially the work permit for a foreign teacher), then if your new employer is authorized to hire foreign nationals, and if the new employer has all of the requisite papers (they are the ones that have to obtain the work authorization for you, not you but it is done almost pro forma), then if all of this has been done and submitted, as matter of bureacratic course, the PSB will issue a new resident permit.

Something just doesn't add up here.  If you walk me through this step-by-step, I will try to help you but so far, 2 + 2 = 5.
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The Local Dialect

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 01:22:43 PM »
When something similar happened to one of our old teachers (although I agree that it is odd that they have been able to issue a new FEC, because that's where the holdup was with our situation -- the old school wouldn't cough up the old FEC for one of our teachers and had never bothered to hand it back to the PSB either, as they're supposed to), what finally happened was the Chinese manager of our school physically went over to their school and demanded begged that they give us the old FEC. And they did. It is one thing to play games with a foreigner, I think it is another to make yourself look bad in front of the competition. Can someone from your school actually contact the other school and put some pressure on them? They might have better luck.

My understanding was the same as yours by the way -- you go home and start over, and that's just it, starting over. Surely there's no way this school can just have you registered as their teacher forever?

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2009, 05:29:50 PM »
This IS extremely bizarre...as was said, something's not ringing true.

The Labor Bureau will ALWAYS be involved in such transfers. They don't issue the Residence Permits themselves...but they issue the documents that let you get the Residence Permit.

But these documents are the FEC and Work Permit...and it sounds like you have those, so there's no way the Labor Bureau should be able to block this.

The ONLY thing the old employer should be obliged to provide you is the stamped release letter. This should be all the green light you need to make the transfer...and you have that.

Even without it, your leaving the country should reset everything...certainly at least by the time the contract expires. I dunno...have you ever had problems with these things in the past? Have you ever been red-flagged for an expired visa or permit, papers issued by an invalid company, anything like that?

Otherwise, it's sounding like someone somewhere in the machinery of all this just doesn't want you to get a Permit...a revenge-minded old employer, a recalcitrant but hypocritical new employer, a totally vicious bureaucrat who doesn't like foreigners (especially those who marry Chinese girls), an official who feels he's due a hefty bribe out of all this and isn't getting it...SOMEONE is gumming the works for you.
When you've exhausted all the logical possibilities, it's time to explore the illogical ones. At least doubly so in China. llllllllll  This kind of stuff DOES HAPPEN there...

I don't know what to tell you...it's really hard to fix a problem like this.
An appeal to Provincial or higher-level Bureaus might help...or might not.

As the spouse and father of Chinese nationals, you should be able to get a Spouse L visa with little argument. It won't let you work, but it might buy you more time to solve the problem without leaving the country. Have you considered or suggested using this route at all?

Dude, I wish I could be more positive. But in China, if someone wants you screwed, you tend to STAY screwed, and it can be about impossible to ever get unscrewed again.

And, an unrelated suggestion: please strongly consider getting citizenship in your home country for the little one, rather than Chinese citizenship. The time may come when you'll be really glad you did.
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The Local Dialect

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2009, 06:24:57 PM »

The ONLY thing the old employer should be obliged to provide you is the stamped release letter. This should be all the green light you need to make the transfer...and you have that.

The old employer does have to turn in your FEC when you stop working with them, and most of them do. Some teachers will run into problems if the school just, for whatever reason, didn't (like I mentioned with this teacher we had). If the old employer will give you the FEC, you can hand it in yourself, but it is something that the school is technically supposed to do. This seems to be where the OP is running into trouble with his school, but I can't figure out how, if that is the case, they managed to get him a new FEC without the old one being turned in.

abstract, was your old school particularly well connected? Could it possibly be that they're just making trouble for you, like Raoul suggested? Maybe there really is nothing you can do but go home and start over. I really really don't think they can stop you from getting a new job if you leave the country and start with a clean slate. I'd be so surprised if that happened.

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2009, 04:39:51 AM »
This thread continues to bother for me I-don't-know-what-reason.

First, yes, it is technically true that the FEC needs to be returned to the previous employer.  This is less uniformly respected these days than in years past. I am also pertinently aware of teachers who have been issued new FEC's, even in the same province, with the prior FEC never having been returned, nor cancelled, nor even sought after by the previous employer. This "out report" is appended electronically to the FT's records but a paper copy, with the stamp of the Entry-and-Exit Division of the PSB, is also given to the prior employer.

I have been ruminating on this matter for an hour or so and this is my own conjecture but it fits in with the scenario, or the piece thereof, that the OP has set forth on this board.

When a foreign teacher, under contract, even with a release letter, leaves an employer for another employer in China, the first employer needs to file a report with the local PSB, informing that the PSB that the foreign teacher has left.  This is simply called an "out report".  The opposite of the "out report" is the "temporary registration of foreigner" which is done when a foreigner changes residence, etc.

Even when a teacher pulls a runner, dies, etc., etc. falls out of an airplane, the school needs to file an "out report".

And that is where, I believe, one of the problems is occuring.  Yes, indeed to file an out report, the school must go to the PSB in person.  Insofar as that is concerned, the OP has been told the truth.  As the OP is remaining within the same province, to wit, within the same city, this out report from the prior school is critical, just as the "temporary registration of foreigner" is crtical.

The prior employer is negligent in its duties if it does not file an out report but, and I say this as pure speculation only, the prior employer might have not done it terribly on purpose, as a way to make the OP's life difficult.  On the other hand, I am only wondering if perhaps there wasn't a telephone call between the two schools, and the prior employer sleezed the OP to the new school which has caused the new school a great deal of reticence about the new employee.

Additionally, I am also wondering if the new school made a "temporary registration of foreigner" for the OP.  Yes, you can obtain an FEC without it; no, you cannot obtain a new residence permit without it.  Again, there may be reasons here such that the new school has decided not to proceed with the new employee.  I have seen that happen before.

All-in-all, it would be helpful if the OP set forth all of the facts clearly, including whether or not his relationship with his previous school was particularly fractious or not.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 04:46:56 AM by PorkDumpling »
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abstract

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2009, 12:37:27 PM »
The relationship fell apart when I told them I was not going to carry on working for them for another year.
They gave me the letter with the company chop, and yes you are correct, wont hand in my FEC or complete the out report.
Things have moved on somewhat now, we have been to the Labour courts, they say that this company has broken the law and will be prosecuted by the state for this, and we can sue them for any financial losses we have or will incur due to it. The litigation has begun and they have been contacted today, they called me being all nice and trying to help, unfortunately due to their previous attitude, and length of time, I no longer have time to renew my visa in China before my visit back home for 3 weeks.
The new plan is this
I can either start the process from scratch in the UK with another Z visa
or, I can come back here on a 1 year multiple entry visa (as I am married to a Chinese national) and then get my working permit sorted out in China that way. Apparently, although you cant work on an L visa, if your on an L visa based on marriage to a National, you can convert it to a working permit without having to leave the mainland.

latefordinner

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2009, 04:51:46 PM »
Yeah, there's nothing like them making nice after they've screwed you over. Ain't it nice to be kissed. Well maybe you can pry a flight reimbursement out of them. Do you have a crowbar handy? Jaws of life, perhaps?

I don't know how fussy your local PSB/PTB is about enforcing the letter of the law (not working on a spousal L), but I don't encourage you to push your luck. Especially not right after you've made yourself fairly visible.

When I changed to a spousal L visa, the PSB official who handled my papers stated categorically that no, I could not switch back to a Z while in-country. I would not even be able to make the short run to HK, I would have to travel back to my home country (Canada). That was in January this year. Have things changed since then? Others are reporting that yes, things are changing. TIFC, timing can be everything.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Major issue regarding Visas / Residency Permit - PLEASE HELP
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2009, 07:16:19 PM »
I'm sorta with PD on one thing...I have a stack  of old FECs from former employers...never once had anyone make a fuss about my keeping it.

Anyway, glad it seems to be working out. I'd strongly consider staying on the Spouse visa...it's not under the thumb of the employers, while the Residence Permits are. Your Work Permit comes from the employers either way, but if you're on the Spouse they at least can't control your right to stay in the country.
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"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)