The current economic situation and the numerous job opportunities in China make it one of the most attractive countries for students and young graduates. Whether it be in Beijing, Shanghai, and other equally interesting cities, big multinational and national companies are growing exponentially and are seeking foreign talent.
Getting work experience through an internship in China will lead to future opportunities in the Asian market and even in Europe or America.
Why do an internship in China?
China is home to thousands of foreign graduates eager to discover a new culture and a market in full expansion and full of opportunities. Many young graduates stay or return to China after their studies in order to start their careers and enjoy positions of responsibility within small and middle size companies as well as large international groups wishing to establish themselves in Asia. Working in China will give you the opportunity to quickly access higher positions than the you would in your home country.
Getting a first hand experience of the Chinese market through an internship can be a valuable asset for your professional career. In addition to that, with expatriates from around the world, the country becomes a mix of cultures. This multiculturalism will be a great personal benefit, as it will make you more open minded. It’s also a great way to develop your professional network by meeting young people from around the globe.
Legislation in China for internships
As with most countries in Asia, there is no minimum wage in China for a trainee. Some internships are paid, some are not, depending on the company you are working with. In the best case, you can even get an allowance to cover your housing expense or your plane ticket. Other compensations can be applied when you don’t get a proper salary, such as free meals or transportation. However, in any case, this money won’t be declared to the government as internships are officially unpaid.
The process of obtaining a training visa in China
The new Chinese law in July 2013 has made access to internships a lot more complicated for foreign students. The Chinese government gives several reasons for these changes. Among others, trainees are merely employed because they are foreigners, to only bring a Western touch to the Chinese business, not to add real value to the company. Also, China is affected by unemployment as well, so the government wants to push local companies to employ Chinese workers, rather than foreigners.
Previously, the F visa was required to do an internship in China. This visa is now restricted to non-commercial exchanges and visits, including scientific, educational, cultural, sports, and medical reasons, on a temporary basis. Thus, the internship visa no longer exists. As for the Z visa, it is necessary for all foreigners who wish to work in China and get a salary. Thus, it can’t be applied for an internship.
The best way to legally do an internship in China, and which could also be very rewarding and useful in everyday life or for your personal career, is to enroll in part time Chinese courses. Thus, you can apply for a study visa with a local school or university. The study visa is the X visa, which allows you to do an internship under the supervision of your university / school for a maximum period of six months (X2) or more (X1). Your institution will be able to provide all the documents necessary for the visa X, such as an invitation letter and a letter of acceptance. Another possibility is to get a business visa M, which allows you to stay up to six months.
– An internship contract signed between the company and the university is required to do an internship in China.
– The application fee for the visa procedures (about $80)
– Proof of subscription to an international health insurance
Any prospective student interning in China must provide proof of health insurance to obtain a visa. Outside your country, your medical expenses are fully charged to you and it is necessary to be covered by an insurance while you are in China as an intern.
Don’t hesitate to share your intern experience in China in the comments below!