Category: Living & Working in China

06/09/14

Permalink 04:20:02 pm, by dacare, 1421 words, 81 views   English (US)
Categories: Living & Working in China

More foreign students compete in China's employment market

The competitive job market in Beijing has been hotter than the scorching summer this year, as it is not only proving to be tough for locals, but for foreign graduates seeking jobs as well. The market is further being heated up by new rules that allow foreign students to work part time while they study.

At a job fair held at the Beijing Friendship Hotel, foreign students are trying to land a job in China.

Last month, about 27 companies and institutions from China' eastern Zhejiang Province offered 142 vacancies for positions including engineers, salespeople and foreign managers, which attracted some 200 foreigners, mostly students.

"I've come here to get experience and hopefully get a job in China," 22-year-old Russian student Kristina Popova, from Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.

It was Popova's first time at a job fair. She has been studying Chinese for five years and has worked as a translator and part-time English teacher. Despite her existing experience in China, she said she was a bit worried.

"The interview officers seem very professional. I think they might be looking for someone with more experience," she said.

There were over 320,000 international students studying at 690 universities across China in 2012, up 11 percent from 2011. That number is expected to reach 500,000 in 2016, according to the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, under the Ministry of Education.

For many foreign students like Popova, China is seen as a land of possibilities. They might find jobs more easily than at home, with higher pay and a relatively more comfortable life. But not everything is easy. The path that leads to a job is often harder than they expect.

New policies

When it comes to working in China, one of the most important things that foreign students have to clarify with their Chinese employers is "will you get me a working visa?"

To get a working visa, foreigners must have at least two years of work experience in the relevant industry, which rules out most graduates. This means that foreign graduates have to go back home after graduation so they can apply for a job in China after getting the required experience.

Until last year, foreign students were not allowed to work part time or take on an internship while they were studying. Some believe these policies were the major reasons that stopped some foreign students from studying in China.

Employers face fines of up to 10,000 yuan ($1,600) for each foreigner illegally hired, and foreigners who work illegally may have their income confiscated and can face detention or deportation.

But there have been recent changes. Last year the government updated the current visa system and introduced some changes to the application process for a residence permit. For the first time, foreigners holding study residence permits were permitted to take part-time jobs or internships outside the campus as long as they obtain approval from their academic institutions and the entry and exit administrative authorities.

Lin Yaochen, a business assistant with Zhejiang-based King-Mazon Machinery Co. Ltd, who interviewed a dozen foreign students at the job fair in Beijing, told the Global Times that the company is willing to offer intern opportunities for inexperienced candidates.

"We are actually looking for the more experienced candidates, but the foreign students told us that their universities don't offer them internship opportunities," Lin said.

This is Lin's third time hiring foreign talent in Beijing. "You can see these young people come prepared. They dress up in suits and greet us politely," she said. "You can see they really take it seriously."

At the end of a whole day of interviews, Lin said they had given out two official job offers and three internship opportunities.

During the summer hiring period this year, the career centers of many universities have been busy introducing this new rule to foreign students, who are about to compete with 7 million fresh Chinese graduates.

"I believe foreign students have a better chance than Chinese students," Popova said.

However, education experts see it as an opportunity to promote culture. "I don't think the increasing number of foreign students brings competition to Chinese graduates," Zhu Dingjian, a representative of the standing committee of the All China Youth Federation, said while attending this year's National People's Congress in March.

"Friendship first, competition second," Zhu continued. "Foreign students can promote diplomatic friendship no matter whether they work in China or at home."

Ejaz Karim, 29, a Pakistani student studying at Tianjin Normal University, came all the way to Beijing for the job fair to gain experience.

Before coming to China, Karim had three years experiences working at a tour company at home. Now he wants to get into the hotel management industry.

"The economy in China is growing faster than in my country," Karim told the Global Times. "I know the job market is becoming more and more competitive as the number of foreigners increase, but I think I can stand out with my international background."

Foreigners with an international background, like Karim, are favored by many Chinese companies that are expanding their business networks overseas.

"We need more foreign professionals to push our products to go global," Ge Wei, an HR manager at the Zhejiang-based Shanhai Machinery Company, told the Global Times. "We do not mind hiring talent from developing countries as they can develop new markets for us."

The second thing that most foreign students are concerned about is payment. Generally foreign employees receive an income 2.5 times higher than Chinese employees in the same position.

But many inexperienced foreign students are satisfied with a lower starting salary. Popova said 5,000 yuan a month, with accommodation provided, would be acceptable.

"We can offer up to 40,000 yuan for a professional European engineer, plus an apartment," said Lin. "For salespeople, 20,000 yuan a month is acceptable."

New supervision and management

When China opened its doors to the world in 1980s, it was uncertain what kind of foreign talent it might attract. China's foreign population has risen as the economy has grown.

Not all Chinese companies are permitted to hire foreigners. Companies that have been open for less than two years cannot, but some of these companies bypass these rules by asking foreign employees to get other types of visas such as business or tourist visas.

Over the years, the country has developed means of cracking down on foreigners working illegally. In May 2012, Beijing launched a 100-day crackdown on "illegal foreigners," focusing on those working illegally in the city or who overstayed their visas. More than 60 models, mostly from Europe, were taken into custody for working without working visas last month in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

A year later, the authorities released new visa and residence permit regulations for foreigners, as well as new regulations about foreigners working in China.

The regulation strengthens supervision and management over foreigners, including allowing some institutions to verify their identities with exit-entry administration authorities when necessary, and making it necessary for foreign nationals to report to local entry and exit administrative authorities if they change jobs or house.

Some foreigners complain that the rules are changed too often. "Every year or 18 months, there are new rules. This can upset lots of foreigners because they don't know where they stand. It's inconsistent," Carlos Ottery, 31, a teacher at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.

Ottery has been living in China for five years with a working visa. Every time he leaves China, he has to report to the local police station within 24 hours when he comes back. He thinks this is an onerous task.

"As the regulations are getting stricter, I am afraid some small companies might think twice before getting a work visa for foreign employees," an HR manager surnamed Zhu at a Beijing-based foreign company told the Global Times.

There have been some positive changes for foreign staff. In 2011, foreigners working in Chinese companies became eligible to participate in the national social insurance scheme, which covers pensions, medical, work-related injuries, unemployment and maternity insurance programs.

Now China is considering relaxing its "green card" policy. In the ten years since the system was launched in 2004, an average of just 248 foreigners obtained green cards annually, according to Xinhua.

But with or without a green card, staying in China is the priority for many foreign students. "I've been studying Chinese for five years, it would be a waste of time if I go home now," Popova said.

When asked what if she couldn't find a job, she considered the question for a moment. "Well, I would go for postgraduate study like Chinese students do," she said.

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03/28/14

Permalink 10:57:03 am, by dacare, 578 words, 121 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Challenges in the air to foreign recruitment

The continual smog affecting the country's major cities has created problems in terms of recruiting workers at foreign-invested companies as expatriates fear to put their own and their families' health at risk, industry insiders said.

The biggest issue is not so much investment or business decisions but recruitment, according to Roland Decorvet, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestle for the Greater China Region.

"We are really struggling to persuade people to move to Beijing - especially people with children," he told China Daily.

"We certainly don't want to increase our offices here. We'd rather increase them in places other than Beijing."

Decorvet said the company has made an effort to clean the offices' air and has given subsidies to employees for air cleaners at home.

But what employees worry about most is their children, said Decorvet, who as of May 1 is leaving Nestle to take a position at Mercy Ships, a charity organization.

The Swiss native will be succeeded by John Cheung, who is from Hong Kong.

For its part, Panasonic Corp of China said that it is paying a "hazard bonus for those foreign employees located in a challenging environment".

In negotiations this spring, revisions of salaries and labor conditions were discussed based on the air quality in China, the company's communication office said. But no decision was made.

The Financial Times reported on March 12 that the Japanese electronic company would offer air pollution compensation to their workers in China.

Panasonic is not the first to subsidize expats living in smog-affected cities, but it is the first to acknowledge that the allowance is specifically related to smog, according to Max Price, partner of Antal International China, a recruitment specialist based in the United Kingdom.

Price from Antal called it a dangerous precedent, which could be seen as putting a price on the health of individual workers.

Employers already are offering extra health insurance for foreign workers in China, with some companies "pollution-proofing" their buildings with air filters and window sealing, he said.

Such situations have become more prevalent. Some foreign professionals have decided that enough is enough and have asked for repatriation or an assignment away from China, according to Price.

"It is becoming more of a factor as time progresses. Polluted air is a major issue for foreign professionals, especially those looking to move to China with families," he said.

The pollution issue used to be offset by significantly higher salaries, but with the cost of living rising in expat areas, the salary benefit is not as attractive, Price noted.

Della Peng, human resources director for ManpowerGroup China, a workforce solution provider, said she is aware of the issues surrounding smog.

"Some enterprises could find it hard to recruit foreign employees if the air situation is not improved," said Peng.

Several managers have been transferred out from China due to the problem, she said.

But she said that, overall, the allure of working in China - one of the most crucial markets for international companies - still outweighs environmental issues, which are likely to be improved in the future.

In addition, she said, employers are making efforts to balance the costs and opportunities. For example, despite the concerns over smog, the number of inbound visitors last year has increased, she said.

Measures taken by foreign-invested companies to lure more expatriates include subsidies to those assigned to smog-affected regions or implementation of flexible working hours, she said. Many companies have moved expatriate professionals to less-polluted cities.

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03/21/14

Permalink 11:30:22 am, by dacare, 369 words, 105 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Foreigners allowed bigger stakes in Chinese companies

Relaxed regulation unlikely to create big short-term waves amid low stock market confidence: Analysts

Foreign investors can own more of a listed Chinese company after rules were relaxed to draw long-term overseas capital.

Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) and Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) can hold up to 30 percent of a company, under a guideline issued by the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

That had earlier been capped at 20 percent of total outstanding shares in a company. Foreign investors will soon also be able to invest in more financial products, including asset-backed securities and preferred shares, according to the authority.

Analysts said the move is meant to attract more long-term capital and boost China's equity market. It is in line with the Chinese leadership's plan to further open up the capital market.

QFII and RQFII are programs for licensed foreign investors to buy and sell yuan-denominated "A" shares on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

State Administration of Foreign Exchange data show that in February, China issued total quotas of $52.3 billion under the QFII program and 180.4 billion yuan ($29.32 billion) under the RQFII program, which allows investments using offshore yuan.

QFIIs increased holdings in more than 20 Shanghai-listed companies, according to their annual reports. The Bank of Ningbo Co Ltd and Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd were among companies that got the most QFII investment, Securities Times said on Thursday.

Analysts said foreign investors, favoring long-term value investment, are cautious about China's stock market, which has suffered bearish sentiment since 2008 and has been hurt by insider trading and price manipulation scandals.

"The overall amount of QFII and RQFII investment is still limited on the A-share market, so the impact of the new rules may be limited in lifting the market," said Zito Ji, an analyst with a mutual fund in Shanghai.

Investors cite corporate governance as a problem. Analysts say a lack of clarity about how Beijing will tax profits from QFII investments has also restrained some investors, Reuters said.

A weakening yuan and a pressured property industry is dragging investor confidence in China's stock market.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.4 percent to 1,993.48 on Thursday. And Shenzhen Component Index dived to a five-year low to 6,698.2.

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02/21/14

Permalink 02:13:57 pm, by dacare, 146 words, 137 views   English (US)
Categories: Living & Working in China

China to Welcome More Professionals from Abroad

China will recruit more top-notch professionals from abroad this year, said the country's human resources authorities on Wednesday.

It is hoped the high-level experts will fully engage in the country's development, said a statement from the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, after a national meeting of Party and government officials in charge of human resources.

China has operated a recruitment program, named "Plan 1,000", to attract overseas Chinese experts to build their careers in the country, since 2008.

So far 4,180 people have been recruited, 861 of them last year, the statement said.

These professionals, mostly scientists, have contributed to research in bioscience, plasma physics, nuclear technologies, space programs and satellites, it said.

But the government is also working on rules to end contracts with those who do not meet the needs of the country or fail to do their jobs, the statement added.

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01/13/14

Permalink 09:33:40 am, by dacare, 524 words, 161 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Expats in top demand for Chinese state-owned enterprises

There has been a significant increase in the demand for foreign professionals to represent Chinese state-owned enterprises abroad as the nation gears up its global commercial activities and plans listings of its domestic companies on international bourses.

Robert Parkinson, founder and CEO of RMG Selection, an international recruitment firm with offices in the China, says that the job market started picking up in the second half of 2013, and ended the year with strong indications of good hiring activity continuing into 2014 on the back of growing optimism and confidence. One the areas that is seen robust recruiting is for foreigners who can represent Chinese interests abroad, and have specific knowledge of capital markets and listings regimes.

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RMG recently published the results of a survey of the China job market, done in conjunction with academics from the University of Nottingham. The research report, 2013 China Talent-flow Survey Report 2, tracked several trends such as the rate of ‘job-hopping’ in various industries, including financial services and professional services.

Of the 4,000 participants in the survey, more than a quarter had changed jobs in the previous 12 months compared to about a fifth in the previous survey period (end 2012/early 2013). Parkinson says candidates demand – and get – increases varying from 20% to 50% each time they move.

Most of the ‘job-hopping’ activity was concentrated among candidates who earned 50,000 RMB (over US$8,000 per month), while the age demographic most likely to change jobs was the so-called “millennials” – candidates born in the early 1990s – with 43% reporting they had changed employer in 2013.

“Many Chinese graduates will take pretty much any job they can find because the job market is so competitive. But once they have settled, and a better offer comes along, they will move quickly.”

RMG is seeing a flood of ethnic Chinese to China – either nationals who have worked abroad moving home, or people with Chinese ancestry and family connections wanting to seek opportunities in what Parkinson described as a very ‘hot’ market.

But Chinese companies were also seeking out foreigners who could represent their interests abroad – especially people with a strong understanding of and experience in international capital markets – skills that many Chinese nationals currently lack due to the country’s historically closed economy.

But for expats, finding a job in China and even looking for another role when already working in the country is challenging. Many channels available to finance professionals in other parts of the world, such as company recruitment portals, job boards, newspaper listings, and internet sites are practically non-existent.

One of the reasons, says Parkinson, is cultural. “Candidates, especially senior people, regard it as beneath them to look for jobs – they expect employers and headhunters to come to them.”

This supports one of the key findings for the research: that using headhunters is still the preferred channel for Chinese companies to find candidates. In the recent survey, the researchers found that the percentage of Chinese companies using headhunters had increased from 35% to 57% in the past year.

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12/24/13

Permalink 01:24:52 pm, by dacare, 1188 words, 141 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Job center focuses on helping expatriates

Moving your entire life to a foreign country can be hard. Finding housing, schools, medical care, not to mention a decent job, are just a few of the hurdles expatriates face.

Now China hopes to entice more skilled experts to its shores by making the task of relocating and securing a dream job a little bit easier.

The newly revamped Shanghai Employment Promotion Center has been modeled as a one-stop shop for foreign job seekers.

With more than 430 of the world’s top 500 companies now with offices in Shanghai, one step is to attract experts in short supply.

Shanghai is home to more than 160,000 expats. In 2013, they again ranked Shanghai as the most attractive city in China.

But while Shanghai may wow with its good looks, it’s the overall package that entices expats.

The Shanghai pilot free trade zone, launched on September 29, is China’s latest move in expanding economic dealings with the outside world.

Once upon a time, Chinese bureaucracies like the SEPC were little more than a rubber-stamp department, drowning applicants in mountains of paperwork.

But, at its base in Shanghai, staff here are now trying to woo workers from all corners of the world with the benefits of grabbing a job in the city.

Utilizing networks

Ding Feng, the center’s director, said they are the first port of call for companies seeking a recruitment permit, a requirement for hiring foreign workers in China.

“Foreign job-seekers could get work visas with the recruitment permit and then apply for a foreigner employment permit,”Ding said.

Documents here are in English, allowing foreigners with little knowledge of Chinese to register for employment or extend their visa.

“This is my first time and so far it seems to be very efficient,”one American job seeker said.“The staff are very helpful.”

Beyond the paperwork, the center has now extended its scope to helping expats utilize educational, medical and social networks.

It’s all part of the government’s recent endeavor to make their departments more service-oriented. Foreign employees, who are referred to as“foreign experts”in China, are among the target population of such services.

Rose Oliver from Britain is one of them. The 49-year-old works as a professor at Shanghai University.

“I found it to be more than just a bureaucratic-like agency,”Oliver said.

“It is more than an office that facilitates visas. They are actually concerned with expats’working lives, their lifestyles and the quality of life they have in China.”

Oliver said it’s the center’s personal touch that has helped her to“have real exposure to Chinese culture.”

This includes the cultural events run by the center that provide foreign experts with knowledge about living in China.

According to Huang Weimao, deputy director of the Shanghai Foreign Experts Affairs Bureau, streamlining all-important social security services is another vital role. The SEPC is under the bureau’s jurisdiction.

“We have close contact with expats, to give them help with obtaining child education, medical care and even housing,”Huang said.

The help is appreciated by expats like Oliver.“They provide a lot of security.”

“When we have problems, I contact Huang. We don’t necessarily have daily contact. But at least there is the knowledge that they are there if you need them,”Oliver said.

Health care concerns

Besides basic medical insurance, the bureau has coordinated with a state-owned company to offer tailored medical services for expats.

“Foreigners tend to have higher requirements,”Huang said.

The offerings of assistance have been expanded as part of the Expats Residence Law. The law, which took effect on July 1, grants foreign workers with a bachelor degree or above, equal access to investment, government jobs, schooling, and an all-important driver’s license.

Russian biologist Philip Khaytovich works in a joint scientific research center established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Germany’s Max Planck Society.

“Before it was not clear what to do with us, because there was no legal framework to deal with foreigners, like how to provide social insurance,”Khaytovich said.“Now it has all changed.”

Khaytovich is part of China’s“1,000 Foreign Talents”program used to recruit scientists from around the world.

“I was fortunate to get into the talent program, as it provides generous support for our work. I think this can make China a very attractive place for research.”

The bureau is responsible for the program’s talent recruitment. With the top 500 companies on the look-out for executives and managerial experts, the bureau is right there helping.

Huang is especially seeking experts in the ship building, automobile, electro-mechanics and new materials industries.

Long-term visa

As part of luring and securing expat workers, China has plans to introduce a long-term visa. It will replace the working visa, which must be renewed annually.

“A lot of expats are willing to stay for a long time,”said Oliver.“They aren’t just coming for a year or two. They are coming to make a life here.”

Huang also just put another improvement in the pipeline.

“Foreign experts require a flexible visa policy," Huang said.“The creation of the Shanghai free trade zone provides a chance for change.”

Khaytovich, 40, said he has already considered retiring in China.

The new residence law for expats allows foreigners to collect a pension, but Huang still admits new provisions may take some fine tuning.

How to apply for a foreigner employment permit

Requirements:

1. Applicants should be in good health with no infectious diseases such as leprosy, AIDS, STDs or pulmonary tuberculosis. They should also have no other disease according to specific job requirements.

2. An assured work unit.

3. Professional skills, proper educational degrees and over two years of work experience related to the job.

4. No criminal record.

5. Valid passport or other international travel identification that can substitute.

6. Men between 18 and 60 years old and women between 18 and 55, under common situations.

7. Other requirements required by laws and regulations.

Application materials:

1. An application form.

2. Copies of valid business licence or other legal registration certificates and organization code. Foreign enterprises should also provide a copy of the approval certificate.

3. The applicant’s resume including the highest educational degree and complete experience. The resume should be printed in Chinese with the employer’s seal.

4. Related certificates of applicant’s skills (certificates should be issued by related organizations or by the applicant’s former employers.)

5. Copy of related educational diploma to the job in China.

6. Copy of the applicant’s valid passport.

7. Other materials required by issuing authorities.

Where to submit

? Shanghai Employment Promotion Center

Address: 4F, 77 Meiyuan Road

Phone: 12333 or 3251-1585

Opening hours:

9am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 5pm from Monday to Thursday

9am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 3:30pm on Friday

Closed at weekend.

? Foreigners in Huangpu, Xuhui, Jing’an, Changning, Jiading and Putuo districts and the Pudong New Area can go to district employment promotion centers to apply for the permit. Foreigners in other districts must go to the Shanghai Employment Promotion Center.

Huangpu: 525 Nanchezhan Road

Xuhui: 1F, 9118 Humin Road

Jing’an: Counter 5, 2F, 241 Wuning Road S.

Pudong: 3995 Pudong Road S.

Changning: 1F, 517 Wuyi Road

Jiading: 1F, 119 Jiajian Road

Putuo: 1F, 1036 Wuning Road

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