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Author Topic: The Five Year Rule  (Read 2643 times)

cruisemonkey

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The Five Year Rule
« 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?


The Koreans once gave me five minutes notice - I didn't know what to do with the extra time.

Isidnar

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2015, 03:17:06 PM »
...
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 12:27:35 PM by Isidnar »

old34

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #2 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.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

cruisemonkey

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #3 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.
The Koreans once gave me five minutes notice - I didn't know what to do with the extra time.

psd4fan

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2015, 01:40:34 AM »
I've almost completed my 9th year here in Harbin and have signed another contract.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #5 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
I'm pro-cloning and we vote!
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #6 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
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Isidnar

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2015, 11:59:30 AM »
...
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 01:39:39 PM by Isidnar »

The Local Dialect

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #8 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.

old34

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #9 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 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.






Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

old34

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #10 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.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

cruisemonkey

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #11 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'.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 11:07:48 PM by cruisemonkey »
The Koreans once gave me five minutes notice - I didn't know what to do with the extra time.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #12 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.)
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

El Macho

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #13 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.

Isidnar

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Re: The Five Year Rule
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2015, 03:06:45 PM »
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« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 01:40:44 PM by Isidnar »