Archive for the Expats in China Category

Expats reconsider living in Beijing over growing pollution [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Employment, Environmental protection, Expats in China, Malaysia, Pollution, Shanghai, Tourism on April 25, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Yan Shuang (Global Times)
April 18, 2013

The Makeevs are leaving Beijing this summer. It was a tough decision for the family to make. They’ve lived here for a decade and have grown attached to the capital’s ways, its oddities and its quirks.

But the air pollution, amid a number of concerns, finally became too much for the Russian couple after giving birth to a baby girl last September.

In their home near the East Fourth Ring Road across from Chaoyang Park, the couple stays at home as much as possible on heavily polluted days. Their air purifier runs around the clock, windows stay closed and masks are a must when they do go out.

“Beijing’s air got worse in the last year, and this winter was especially bad,” said Makeev, who runs an export business in Beijing.

The heavy smog that blanketed eastern parts of China for much of the winter triggered international attention to China’s air pollution issue, especially in the capital where some 200,000 expatriates reside.

The US embassy’s air quality index classified pollution levels as “beyond the index” several times in January. However, the official index put out by environmental authorities, which usually stands in contrast to the US embassy data, also showed in parts of Beijing that the pollution levels were too high to be read at monitoring stations.

– Staying away –

“We feel drowsy, we get headaches, we cough. We even noticed differences in the baby’s behavior, as she gets cranky and doesn’t sleep well,” Makeev said. He explained that in Russia, it’s common to spend at least two to three hours daily outside to let babies get fresh air.

Besides air pollution, Makeev also worries about food and water quality. The comfortable and cheap cocoon that lured many expats to Beijing is cracking. Rents are up, high prices are being charged for low-quality products and traffic is an ever-worsening chore, he said. The increasingly evident wealth gap is also making him uncomfortable.

In pursuit of better climate and business opportunities, the couple has decided to leave for Malaysia soon.

Makeev’s worries are shared among many in the expat community in Beijing, and the couple are not the only ones planning on leaving.

There were at least two high-profile cases of foreigners asking to be repatriated in January, when PM2.5 readings in Beijing climbed to over 800, said Max Price, a partner at Antal International China office, a global executive recruitment corporation. A PM2.5 reading over 500 is already considered serious pollution.

Price told the Global Times that a high-ranking lawyer and a senior technical professional working for two German automobile companies respectively insisted on being repatriated to their original countries and left.

“When I speak to my international colleagues, their first questions are never about how business is going or how I am doing personally. They always ask about the pollution,” he said. “It’s really something I never experienced before.”

When speaking to people as a recruiter, quality of life used to be the third question following the actual duties of the job and the salary, but now it has jumped to second on the list, Price said, adding that this mainly happens with people with families.

A lot of foreigners who are keen on staying in China are turning their attention toward second-tier or third-tier cities, as these have increased employment options and better air quality, said Price.

The recent H7N9 bird flu outbreak has also come to complicate matters.

“A lack of communication and a limited number of reports have made people fear the worse and compare it with the SARS outbreak 10 years ago,” he said, noting that these aspects are making Beijing and Shanghai less attractive than other Chinese cities to expats.

Although there is no official data on how many foreigners are leaving Beijing or tourists staying away for fear of the pollution, the Beijing municipal tourism data showed a slump of foreign visitors in February and March this year compared to 2012.

According to the statistics, Beijing saw 165,000 foreign visitors in February, 37 percent less than last year…


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Rights for permanent foreign residents set out [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Expats in China on December 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(China Daily)

December 12, 2012

Foreigners who obtain permanent residency will have the same pension, employment and property rights as Chinese citizens, under new regulations announced on Tuesday.

Access to schools for their children will also be on par with Chinese citizens the rules endorsed by central government departments in September state.

The only rights not afforded to “green card” holders are political rights.

Foreigners with permanent residency can participate in all aspects of social insurance and avail of the benefits.

There are five types of social insurance: endowment, medical, unemployment, work-related injury and maternity.

Green card holders are exempt from a restriction that does not allow foreigners who have worked or studied less than a year in China to buy property. They can also work in China without a work permit.

Their children, of a compulsory education age, can attend a school that is near their place of residence, and they will not be charged any fees except a statutory sum.

Foreigners who have permanent residency can enjoy simplified investment and registration procedures if they want to invest in or set up a business…

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Excerpted by Zuo Shou

“‘Green card’ process may get easier” – Draft gives expats path to permanent residency in China [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Expats in China on December 9, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By ZHAO YINAN (China Daily)

Nov. 19, 2012

Foreigners who live in China for 10 consecutive years may be eligible for a “green card”, according to a proposed draft regulation.

The draft, and other amendments to ease requirements for permanent residency, is being considered by the Ministry of Public Security.

Liu Guofu, an immigration law expert at the Beijing Institute of Technology, revealed that the ministry proposed lowering the threshold for applicants at a symposium in August, and is gauging feedback from experts.

Liu said the draft mostly targets immigrants in the field of technology who will be able to apply for permanent residency after living in China for 10 consecutive years, provided they have spent at least nine months each year in the country. They must be employed, have accommodation and a good tax record. The success of their application will no longer be dependent on the position they hold.

Current regulations require applicants, in the technological sector, to hold a position of deputy general manager or associate professor (or higher) for at least four successive years.

If the draft is approved, more foreigners will be eligible to apply for a green card.

Qu Yunhai, a senior official at the Ministry of Public Security, said in October that his department is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to draft a document that could result in more permanent residency permits being issued, China News Service reported.

The Ministry of Public Security confirmed that the draft document is being prepared but did not provide further information due to the sensitivity of the issue…

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Beijing reimburses first foreigner for medical expenses [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Expats in China, Social Security system on April 8, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

[Beijing Daily]
March 2, 2012

Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

A foreign worker in Beijing has recently enjoyed medical expenses reimbursement and become the first one in the city to be reimbursed under China’s social security system since the country extended social security coverage to foreign workers on Oct. 15, 2011.

The foreign worker is a client of China International Intellectech Corporation, a leading human resource outsourcing company.

According to the company’s employee health center, it received a 3,681-yuan hospital receipt from the worker on Feb. 8, and then completed all reimbursement procedures at the Chaoyang Medical Insurance Center on Feb. 27.

As the threshold for reimbursement is 1,800 yuan with a reimbursement rate of 70 percent, the worker finally received more than 1,315.9 yuan from the country’s health insurance fund.

Chinese employers are required to conduct social insurance registration on behalf of their foreign employees within 30 days of signing the labor contract, according to the Interim Measures on Participation in Social Insurance for Foreigners Working in China, which went into effect on Oct. 15, 2011.

There are around 40,000 registered foreign workers in Beijing, of whom, about 8,000 have paid into China’s social security system.

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Foreigners flock to China for job opportunities [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, Canada, China, Employment, Expats in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Macau, Malaysia, Shanghai, Singapore, south Korea, Taiwan, U.K. on January 8, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Yu Ran (China Daily)

December 21, 2011

SHANGHAI – Shanghai has China’s second-largest population of foreigners and overseas Chinese, and 27.3 percent of them have come to the city purely for jobs, according to a report released on Monday by the municipal statistics bureau.

A total of 104,300 residents, more than 50 percent of the city’s foreigners and overseas Chinese – people from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan – came to the city primarily for long-term work or short-term business in 2010, said the report, which is based on the sixth national census conducted in November 2010.

This is the first time foreigners and overseas Chinese were counted in the census.

“Shanghai has seen a rapidly increasing flow of foreigners coming for jobs over the past three to five years, and the trend continues and is expected to grow significantly in the near future, given the booming local economy,” said Sun Haode, director of the labor and employment center for foreigners under the labor and social security bureau in Shanghai.

Sun said that he and his team are working to help local enterprises recruit foreigners, sign work agreements and apply for work permits for them.

According to the report, foreigners in Shanghai stay on average for 21 months, with people from South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Canada staying the longest.

“I found it easy to settle in my first job in China within a month of my arrival, and I worked for a 3-D animation company for a while before I got my current position,” said Gary Williams, a 26-year-old business director at Thread Design, a foreign-invested creative design company in Shanghai.

Williams used to work as a bank manger in Newcastle, England, but he wanted to do something more exciting and came to Shanghai in January 2009 looking for a job in design and media.

“The projects and opportunities that I can work on here are great, and I’ve learned that developing countries will turn to China, not the US or UK, for inspiration when looking for the best practices in design, branding and architecture,” he said.

“I think a foreigner can either come to teach English, or come as a highly educated and experienced expat with a good offer for a position and salary in hand. Those who don’t belong to these two categories may have to fight for a job, because the requirements for foreign workers are quite high in the city,” said Williams, who considers himself lucky.

But not every young foreigner in Shanghai is so lucky.

“I graduated last year without any work experience, and I had studied in Shanghai and Beijing over the past two years,” said Piero Marzullo, a 23-year-old Italian who has been looking for a job in the city for more than two months.

Marzullo, who majored in Chinese at an Italian university, came to China in September hoping to find work as an interpreter. Although she has spent about five hours a day sending out resumes to employers, she has had no success yet.

“I’ve sent thousands of job applications to companies in Shanghai, and I just got about 20 interviews in return, which makes me doubt that speaking fluent Chinese is enough to get a job in China,” she said.

Marzullo has noticed that most of the positions for foreigners in Shanghai are related to business management, marketing and finance. She is proficient in none of these.

“Hopefully, I can find a job that matches my education background as soon as possible, with a basic monthly salary of about 7,000 yuan ($1,100),” she said.

A number of headhunters and human resources consultancies have opened special sections to help foreigners find jobs.

“We’ve noticed that there are fresh graduates having problems finding jobs in China, for they lack work experience, which is essential if a foreigner wants to work in the country. We’ve suggested they go back to their home countries and return when they have at least two years’ experience,” said Tan Qian, an account manager in charge of foreigner recruitment at FESCO Adecco, one of the leading HR services companies in China.

As a HR services company, FESCO Adecco has long-term agreement with the government of South Korea to hold two job fairs annually in Beijing and Shanghai to help South Koreans find jobs in China.

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Expats say domestic Chinese condoms don’t fit [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Expats in China, Shanghai, Thailand on October 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Xu Chi

October 23, 2011

Shanghai–Some expatriates from Europe and Africa complained to Shanghai Daily that they are always embarrassed about “ill-fitting” condoms in the city as almost all of them are designed to a standard Asian size, which may not fit them.

Main condom suppliers including Durex, Jissbon and Okamoto confirmed that they supply condoms only with a common size suitable for Chinese men – their target consumer group.

Sizes of condoms differ in various countries and Chinese condoms, usually 180mm long and 52mm wide, are slightly smaller in length and girth than those being sold in Western countries, some suppliers said.

An official surnamed Zhao with Jissbon said his company has received complaints from some foreigners about Chinese condoms that are sometimes a little bit tight for them. But considering those people are a very tiny part of their consumer group, they haven’t considered making bigger ones.

An official surnamed Wang with Okamoto’s Beijing retailer said they used to sell bigger condoms with XL sizes in the country, but the business didn’t last long as the company didn’t earn much profit from it.

For many condom suppliers, although it would be very easy to design condoms of different sizes, the problem lies with high delivery costs, said Zhao with Jissbon.

He said most Chinese condoms are made in other countries such as Thailand and the delivery fee has long been a headache for them. As a result, condoms are usually produced in one size so they can go through fixed production lines to save money, he said.

“To alter their sizes means the factory has to develop another production line, and the goods have to be sent back to China in different batches, which will add to the already high delivery cost,” said Zhao.

The short supply of condoms in different sizes in Shanghai has brought problems to some of the city’s expats. A European who asked not to be named told Shanghai Daily that the problem has existed for many years and that he always has to bring condoms from his homeland.

He said one of his female friends got pregnant and had to get an abortion because her boyfriend couldn’t find a “proper size” condom.

“Many foreigners find it embarrassing to talk about the problem, but it’s still there unsolved while posing a danger to us of catching venereal diseases or having unwanted babies in unprotected sex,” he said.

Original article title: “Expats say condoms don’t fit”

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China’s social insurance to cover foreigners [China Daily / Xinhua]

Posted in China, Expats in China, Labor, Social Security system on May 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手


BEIJING – China is drafting details of the Social Insurance Law that will allow it to apply to foreign employees, a senior official with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said Monday.

Xu Yanjun, deputy director of the ministry’s social security center, said at a news conference that foreign employees in China will be able to enjoy social insurance benefits as Chinese nationals under the law.

The law, adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, will go into effect on July 2011.

The law specifies that all workers will have the right to five forms of insurance: basic endowment ensurance, basic medical insurance, work injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance.

The law will also ensure that workers from countries that have signed bilateral social insurance agreements with China will be able to avoid paying two premiums, Xu said.

Most foreign workers currently living and working in China’s larger cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, are limited to having work injury insurance and basic medical insurance, according to Xu.

In recent years, more foreigners from southeast Asian countries have found jobs in both labor-intensive areas and large cities in China, Xu said.

Unlike wealthy investors and senior marketing and technical executives who have relocated to China from overseas in the past, these foreign workers are largely unskilled and unable to get work visas, he said.

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