Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Long-term residence permit, yes please!

Yesterday when I was reading the news I got a little bit excited when I skimmed through this article. 

3-5 year working permit...?! yes please. 

Then I read the fine lines and realized that it was only for executives and other important people. Almost makes me want to start my own business and give myself an important post. On the other hand, I'd be a lousy business woman, and I don't have any money to invest, so maybe not. 

Getting a visa in China isn't hard, but it demands a bit... of paperwork. Especially when you choose to change jobs/occupation (like going from studying to working or the other way around). 

I remember when I was about to get my first Z (working) visa in China. I had to get everything from my university diploma to CV translated into Chinese, visit the hospital to do a throughout health scan (I hate those ones, I faint at the sight of needles and blood!), put all the papers together and then eventually go abroad (or to Hong Kong) to get the actual visa. 

Fortunately I was going to Thailand for a holiday so my boss suggested I'd do it over there, and handed me a bunch of papers to bring. 

-And this is all I need? I asked. I don't need to bring my medical record?

-No, you don't. Because I've already given you this one, she said and showed me some green working diploma (? not sure what it was actually, this was a while ago), and you cannot get that without your medical, so it should be enough!

-You sure? I said.

-Sure! She said. 

So off I went and guess what the first thing the Chinese woman at the Chinese embassy in Bangkok asked for was?

-Your medical record please.

Oh dear god, WHY ME?!

To make a long story short I can tell you how it went. It didn't matter how many tears I cried, this embassy woman refused to give in. I had to call my office in Shanghai and ask them to fax the medical. Seeing that the woman in charge of these things was on a holiday my Shanghai co-workers had to call her in because she was the only one with a key to the drawer where they kept the medical records.... 

I ended up missing one flights and two boats but in the end I didn't care. After 5 hours and an insane amount of bahts (I had to pay some express fees as well as some additional don't-ask-me-what-they-were-fees) I finally had the magic visa in my passport. 

Lesson learned: never leave your medical behind. 

Additional funny side note: If you've done a medical check in China maybe you've noticed how the medical staff sometimes add additional notes about you in the final, medical report? I've personally never received any comments but to one of my male friends they wrote:

"Fatty liver"

....and one of my girlfriends received the charming note:


(Do I need to mention that she's not obese? Nah, yeah, well that's just what I thought).  


Anonymous said...

Doctors writing observations and comments in medical records has been going on forever. I think your mum would have an idea about this, if memory serves me. It's a lot less common now in western countries though because of the large number of lawsuits the medicos have- it doesnt look good for the doctor being sued if the court hears they wrote something about the patient like: dickhead, troublemaker or stingy. Some acronyms I've heard include PITA and DFF, which stand for :Pain in The Ass, and Drunk Fell on Face. :)


Brad Farless said...

I can understand this. I'm currently waiting to hear the results of a PR application for Singapore. That was a lot of paperwork too, but surprisingly I didn't actually need my medical record. I brought it just in case though.

WoAi said...

This is a classic China story. Happens all the time. They tell you you need this or don't need that and then you find out it's incorrect. It's because nobody really knows what you do need and because there's never any consistency.

There was a funny story on another blog about a guy getting his drivers license. He took a whole day off specially and at the end couldn't get the license because he didn't bring something because they told him he didn't need it and then when he turned up, they asked him for it.

miss. chief said...

getting a visa is always SO MUCH WORK!! you need ten thousand pieces of important paper and photos and more paper and get this signed by this person and bring in a letter from your landlord and a government issued bill from your home and ... blablabla

TG said...

Asian countries are inviting when you come as a tourist, but when you wanna stay for good, they do everything to discourage you (to say the least)...

Jonna Wibelius said...

haha, sounds as if it's not only me who's had a lot of visa issues during my years abroad. Well, they were quite strict in Australia too. I wonder how strict it actually is in Sweden if you're a 'laowai' and not from a Union country... hm... I refuse to believe it is as much paper work in China/aussie, but I might be wrong f course.

Brad Farless said...

That's an interesting question you posed Jonna. I've looked at the PR paperwork for Singapore and the paperwork for the Philippines. I've also looked at paperwork for getting my wife a spousal visa for the US. They're all stacks and stacks of paperwork and lots of money. You'd think getting a spousal visa would be cheap, and easy, but ... not really.

I wonder what sort of hoops an American would have to go through to get a visa in Sweden? Most countries put up with us, but don't really love us that much and would rather we didn't hang around. =(

Pingu said...

It's almost impossible to get work in Europe if you are not an EU citizen, mainly because companies feel that getting a foreigner work visa is just not worth the effort.

That's the feeling I got, which means it's harder than Aus and China

Anonymous said...

I'm going to china soon on a tourist visa. I'm looking for a job and i've been told that right now the tourist visa can be converted to a work visa without leaving the country.

Do you think it would be a problem if I bring my diplomas with me? I mean, legally can I job-hunt in china while on a tourist visa?


Jonna Wibelius said...

Anonymous -no, that's totally OK. How else could you job hunt?? After all, u r not working, just looking for a job. So go ahead I'd say. once u find something u have to go and change your visa before u start working anyways. Good luck!