Family visa in China: the pros and cons. There are more minuses.
33-year-old Briton Julie (pseudonym) still remembers how difficult it was to find work after she married a Chinese man many years ago. The situation was so terrible that she had to forge documents to obtain a work permit in Jiangsu Province.
When in 2009 her husband, who graduated from a good Chinese university, had difficulty finding a job, he was paid only 2,500 yuan ($ 378) a month, which was not enough to support the family, and Julie was forced to seek a livelihood. But since she was on a family visa, she was not allowed to work, and a Chinese green card is not so easy to get.
“I found that I needed two years of work experience to apply for a work permit. I ran into two options: to leave my husband, to return home for a period of at least two years, for work experience, or to take and simply edit my resume “, & # 8212; said Julie.
In recent years, the number of interethnic marriages has been growing in China. If foreign men tend to return to their home countries with their Chinese wives, many foreign women remain in China.
However, as in the case of Julie, visa restrictions are a serious problem for many foreigners who marry their Chinese partners and remain in the country.
Before getting married, Julie had no idea that a visa might have problems. She did not even get acquainted with the rules, later she realized that everything is not so simple.
“I, you can say, married my husband’s family and absorbed a huge amount of Chinese culture”, “# 8212; she said. “[However,] the limited matrimonial visa, which does not allow me to work, is a reminder that although I entered the Chinese family, I still remain an outsider. The dream of greencards never materialized. ”
According to the rules, the foreign spouse of a Chinese citizen should be married to his partner for more than five years, reside in China for more than nine months each year for each of these five years, have a permanent income or financial support, only if the requirements are met, the foreigner has the right to file application for a Chinese green card.
That is, to obtain a work permit, Julie had to return to the UK, work there for two years, and if during this time the couple had children, then spending on air travel would not have justified any work. Plus would have been lost two years out of the necessary five in the marriage, since for most of the year Julie would not have been in China.
To meet the temporary demands, Julie had to accept the fact that she would not be able to help her parents if something happened to them, since she would not be allowed to stay outside of China for more than three months a year.
According to the February report on cctv.com, in the period from 2004 to 2013, 7.356 foreigners received Chinese green cards. There are four categories of applications: investment, employment, outstanding achievements and family reunification with a partner or other family members. Reunion with the family and outstanding achievements is about 80% of all issued to this day green card.
For Stephen, a teacher at a college in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, the process of applying for permanent residence was tough. He married a Chinese woman in 1993. When he first applied for a ginkard in 2009, he was denied because he returned to the US to look after his parents for some time in 2008. He was given a green card only in 2014.
“The lack of the possibility of legal work on a family visa and do not meet all the criteria for a work permit & # 8212; a big problem in our community in China “, & # 8212; says Julie.
Charlotte Edwards, a 35-year-old American, works as a teacher, married a Chinese in 2007, and now lives in a small town in Hebei Province. They have a son and a daughter.
In her circle, most foreign wives have to work as teachers of English to support the family budget. They have few opportunities for employment.
“Where we live, companies or schools find it difficult to obtain permission to hire foreigners and obtain a work visa for them. The school in which I worked, it took 9 months to complete all the necessary documents “, & # 8212; says Edwards.
Eva Sarah Molaro with her husband on her wedding day.
Eva Sarah Molaro, a 32-year-old Italian, works at a school in Beijing, believes that she is lucky, she is not very concerned about visa issues, her company provides a permanent work visa and insurance.
“In fact, marriage does not create problems, but at the same time does not give spouses any legal advantages when it comes to visas. My husband can receive an Italian visa for three years in one day only because he is married to me, but I do not get any benefits or preferences when applying for a Chinese visa. “, # 8212; said Molaro.
“Besides, I can not switch to a family visa, because in this case I will not be able to work, so even after registering a marriage, I am completely dependent on my company for staying in China”, # 8212; continues Molar.
Julie and her husband returned to the UK in 2011 because of a health problem. Now they have three children.
During their departure, Julie had a serious health problem, but she did not have access to health insurance in China. Her poor health meant that she could not work for a long time, which means that her family’s earnings and livelihoods would be significantly reduced. So they decided to return to the UK.
“So far we will stay in the UK. I never thought that we would live outside of China, because I loved our life there, “& # 8212; said Julie.
“In the UK my husband can work on a matrimonial visa, he also has equal access to the healthcare system of my country. I think that the Chinese government can do more to support us. The current system is unfair. ”
The Edwards family has vague plans to leave China within three to five years, or at least send their children abroad for study. If it were not for her husband’s work, she would like to leave earlier than later, & # 8212; says Edwards.
Molaro still plans to stay in China.
“I like it here, I have a stable job, and my husband has a business. Life here is very comfortable for me, and at the moment I’m not going to exchange it for distant shores “, & # 8212; she said.
Molaro wanted foreigners to get more family green cards, or to make the matrimonial visa play the role of both a family and work visa.
“I would also like to see the problem of pension deductions for foreign residents solved before I get old. I am ready to pay taxes with two hands to get a decent pension so that my years of work in China can be counted and received in my country. So far I can only use private or seven-state insurance policies “, & # 8212; she said.
Molaro added that another problem faced by many foreigners is related to insurance policies and planning for retirement, since there is no free medical care, and pensions are not bilaterally related, for example, as between Argentina and Italy.
Jason Tian, an attorney for foreign affairs from Shanghai, said that the current visa and work permit policy in China has been tightened since its launch in April.
“Given the policy, China wants to get a higher level of attracted foreign experts. In addition, the Chinese. Greencard is very difficult to obtain if applicants are not high-level professionals whose skills are in demand in China “, # 8212; said Tian.
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Family visa in China: the pros and cons. There are more minuses.