Transferring Work Visa in China


Recently, I have experienced several cases about transferring work visas. There are something that every ESL teacher who is holding work visa in China should know.

As we all know, work visa is the only visa that ESL teachers can legally work in China. It’s getting harder to get it, especially for non-native speakers. Therefore, no one will think about that there will be something bad about it.

From the cases that I have had last month, there are several things that ESL teachers should know when they need to transfer work visa to other schools.

First, pay attention to the rule of the contract about how many months that you should give school attention about your leaving.

There are some teachers who thought that they can leave after the contract and ignore the rule of the contract. However, many schools refuse to provide the release letter and cancellation certificate to them because of this. As a result, the teacher couldn’t have enough time to make work transfer in China and have to go back to their countries and got a new background, then apply for a new work visa in China.

Second, have a nice relationship with your current employer.

For transferring work visa in China, there are two things that ESL teachers need from current school.

One is release letter. Release letter to show that you have finished contract from your current employer. Sometimes, the school will also give you a recommendation letter.

The other one is cancellation certificate of your current work visa. Only after your current employer cancel your work visa, the new school can start to apply for your new work visa. If they don’t cancel, then there is no way to start the process. Therefore, try to build a good relationship with you current employer, then it will be easier to get your release letter and cancellation certificate from your current school..

Third, notice the expired date on your living permit and the date you get your documents.

After you get the release letter and cancellation certificate from the school, you will have time to transfer your work visa to another school until the expired date of your living permit. For example, Dec.21 you get release letter and cancellation certificate, Jan 5th is the date on your living permit, then the new school can get your work visa during the 16 days between Dec.21 and Jan 5th. If the time period is so short and new school couldn’t get you work visa, you have to leave China and apply for the work visa as the first time ESL teachers.

Fourth, try to make your current employer to get you an extension of your living permit.

There are many schools who will give ESL teachers release letter and cancellation letter at the last minute when they finish contract, since your current employers may be concerned that you will leave the schools earlier and don’t finish the contract. However, there may be not enough time for ESL teachers to transfer their work visa to a new employer, as I said earlier. Then, the best way to do is to get the school to give you an extension, maybe ten days or more, which can make time for your new employer to transfer your work visa.

Fifth, if the school doesn’t provide release letter and cancellation certificate, what does the ESL teacher can do?

Collection evidence such as chat record on wechat or anything that can prove the school threaten you or break the contract, and then go to local foreign experts bureau. If the school became unreasonable, the ESL teachers need to protect themselves. Since the teachers are with work visa, the school can add them to the blacklist of foreigners because of breaking contract. If teachers are on the blacklist, they won’t be able to get work visa in China anymore. Therefore, going to local foreign experts bureau and filling a complain are very important.

Let me talk about a case that I just had.

I have two American teachers who wanted to leave their current schools after the contract and gave their school notice shorter than the contract required. The school doesn’t give them release letter and cancellation certificate, and even threaten them not to give them last month paycheck and airticket reimbursement. Finally, American teachers went to the local foreign experts bureau and filled a complain about the school. The foreign experts bureau got into the issue and promised the teacher that the school could not ad them into the blacklist. However, the foreign experts bureau doesn’t have the right to ask the school to cancel their work visa until the teachers leave China. So the two American went back to the states and got a new background, then apply for a new work visa.

In conclusion, it’s just a case of mine. Most of schools would like to corporate with the teachers and provide them the documents to make their transferring smoothly. Just be aware of your contract and have a nice relationship with your current employer!