New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China
We suggest that you check directly with the nearest Chinese authority for authoritative information on visa regulations.
To work legally in China one must first obtain an appropriate employment visa. We strongly recommend that this be done prior to arrival. This is the single, most important piece of advice we can offer to anyone intending to work in China.
Visas for New Zealanders intending to travel to China for holiday or to work, are issued by Chinese Embassy in Wellington or the Chinese Consulate-General in Auckland. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Chinese.email@example.com) Please contact them directly for advice.
Please note: New Zealand diplomatic offices overseas do not have any role in issuing or renewing visas for China.
Depending on the job and other factors, it can take between ten working days and two months to obtain the appropriate visa.
The main types of visas required for China are:
- L class: Visitor visa for tourist purposes only
- Z class: Employment visa for employment up to 12 months
- X class: Study visa for study purposes for up to 12 months
Usually a Z class employment visa is required to teach legally.
Some visas require that a full medical checkup be completed. The original of the report should be brought with you, as this will be required when registering with the Public Security Bureau (see next section). Otherwise you may be asked to undergo a second checkup at your own cost.
Many travelers arrive on visitor visas under assurances that it is easy to change to a business or employment visa after arrival. While this is possible, the process is neither easy nor straightforward. One alternative may be to come to China on a tourist visa and look for opportunities to obtain letters of sponsorship. Then leave China and apply for an employment visa offshore.
More importantly if arriving on a visitor visa to take up employment the potential employee will have lost any influence while negotiating your contract - your status in China is now subject to the whims of the employer. And if caught working illegally you may also face prosecution.
Legal Warning: Some expatriates have run into serious problems because they have accepted employment while in China on a visitor visa. Violation of China’s immigration laws can result in severe penalties including imprisonment, fines of up to RMB500 (NZ$100) for each day of overstay and/or deportation. It is an individual’s responsibility to understand the local laws and to obey them. The embassy cannot assist (other than provide a list of lawyers) if you violate visa laws. More so, choosing to work while on a visitor visa places the employee in a very weak bargaining position with an employer, and with no legal recourse through the authorities.