CHINA VISA: INDICATES YOUR SOCIAL CLASS?
On a daily basis many foreigners migrate to this new land of opportunity for work, business, study and some, to simply settle. The question therefore must be asked, ‘How many of us actually take the time to learn China’s visa laws?’ It is quite common for foreigners to identify each other’s social class according to visa types.
Meet the ‘Work Visa Foreigner’- He/she beats that nine to five, five to six times a week, gets paid at the end of each month, is given a set contract by his/her employer, is provided a work visa, residence permit and a work permit valid for one year. He or she is encouraged as tax contributors and movers of the economy. Foreigners falling into this category are further sub divided into class ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ according to a point system based on their income, experience and qualifications, ‘Class A’ being the most encouraged, ‘Class B’ encouraged but monitored closely [ESL teachers are commonly in this class] and ‘Class C’ restricted.
Different rankings of social class can be seen within the ‘Work visa foreigner’. Foreigners in Class A are the high talents, according to authorities. Their visa processing can be completed within a few days. They enjoy various benefits complementary the visa authorities. The Class A foreigners are sparingly scattered, they walk among us concealing their identity. The Class B foreigner, on the other hand though not as highly classed as the Class A foreigner, are still encouraged as they provide an influx of income taxes. Work visa foreigners are ranked according to a score system, the higher the score the higher your ranking class.
Then there is the ‘Business Visa Foreigner’ – This type of foreigner is further divided into 2 categories, “The legal business visa foreigner” and “The illegal business visa foreigner”. ‘The legal business visa foreigner’ actually has a business in China or is actually invited to do business in China, he/she doesn’t mind the length of stay restriction placed on such a visa, he/she simply enters the country handles his/her business and exits. Then you have ‘The illegal business visa foreigner’, this foreigner does not have a business registered in his/her name, nor is he/she truly invited to do business or trade with the inviting company of such a visa, but rather gets the business visa if for some reason a work visa seems impossible. Foreigners on this visa often dread the additional cost incurred from entering and exiting the country due to the time restriction of 30 – 90 days.
Only certain types of foreigners can maintain such a visa if their intention is to stay in China for an extended period of time. Other foreigners that cannot maintain search a cost, eventually returns home.
In addition to ‘The Student Visa Foreigner’, there is ‘The Spousal Visa Foreigner’, which is also divided into two sub classes, Q1 and Q2. A spouse on a Q1 visa is permitted to stay in the country for up to one year before visa renewal while a spouse on the Q2 visa is limited to a maximum of 180 days after which they need to exit and re-enter the country again.
This visa type is the craftiest of them all, some would say, as you are allowed to marry into China but once your spousal visa is activated you are then restricted from working. In order to work, you must strip yourself of your spousal status and identify yourself; a tax contributing employee. Isn’t it crafty to its core?
This is the 21st century, a very distinct time in the world where both men and woman work to contribute towards the home. Restricting a spouse to work therefore has just made one foreign woman on a spousal visa; a house wife and a foreign man on such a visa; incapable of supplying the basic needs of his family.
It appears the spousal visa is identified within the lowest social class. Recently, even foreigners on student visas are being debated upon; should students be permitted to work or not? No discussions, however, have been held regarding foreigners being able to work on a spousal visa and foreigners continue to live within their social class bubble, wherever they fall.