Can you immigrate to China?

Emigrating to China: you have to pay attention to these points

The People's Republic of China is not one of the classic emigration destinations for Germans. Between 2005 and 2014 only around 25,500 Germans officially moved to China. For comparison: In the same period around 137,200 Germans emigrated to the USA.

Investors, managers and skilled workers in particular have good opportunities for further development and good jobs in China; after all, the Chinese economy is booming. The country also has a lot to offer in terms of landscape and culture, which makes emigration even more attractive. In order to move to China on a long-term basis, a work visa is required that can only be obtained by invitation from a company based in China.

How to get the work visa for China

It must be applied for after six months of residence and work in the country and can be issued to the applicant and his family. In order to receive the visa, in addition to the invitation from the employer, a health certificate with an HIV test must be presented. 30 days after arrival in China, a report must be made to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in order to obtain the actual work permit, which is then valid for one year. The work permit or the visa cannot be extended after the end of this year, but a new visa must then be applied for. Permanent residence is difficult to come by. Long-term work in a Chinese company or a large investment can entitle you to stay in China permanently.

Cost of living cheaper on average than in Germany

Emigration to China is possible for a German employer who does business in China as well as for a job with a Chinese employer. The salary will differ significantly, however, and with a Chinese employer it will usually be significantly lower than with a German or European one. In principle, the cost of living in China is cheaper than in Germany, but in the big boom cities of Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, emigrants have to expect very high rents and significantly higher costs of living than in rural areas.

Mandarin as the key to a socially integrated life

In order to gain a foothold in China in the long term, it is important to master the Chinese language. Although you will be able to communicate in English in an international business environment, in order to make friends in the country and to feel at home, Mandarin should be learned. Since this is a very difficult language, it should be started as early as possible.

People from the following professional groups have a good chance of finding a job quickly in China:

  • Business economists
  • Teachers and especially English teachers
  • Engineers
  • IT specialists
  • scientist

A realtor will help you find an apartment

In order to find an apartment in China, a broker can be hired if the employer does not support you in the search. Living space in China ranges from very simple accommodations to luxurious apartments, which then also have a corresponding price. There used to be apartments that foreigners were not allowed to move into and were reserved for the Chinese, these regulations have been relaxed and foreigners are now allowed to live anywhere except in houses or apartments belonging to the Chinese military.

Anyone who has managed to move to China must then apply for a tax card on site, provided that they stay there and work there for more than 183 days a year. From an income of around € 14,500 per year, a tax return must also be submitted, which is done either by the employer or the employee with the appropriate help of a tax advisor. In order to open a China bank account into which the salary can be deposited, the passport, visa and proof of residency in China must be presented.

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Health insurance and driving a car

There is no obligation to have health insurance in China, but it is still advisable to take out health insurance for long-term stays. Many employers offer their employees the option of insurance, then at least the basic provision is covered. Private insurance is more advisable, albeit more expensive. Here, the various offers and services should be carefully compared. If you want to drive a car in China, you have to apply for a Chinese driver's license. Both a European and an international driver's license are not valid in China. To apply for the Chinese driver's license, the European driver's license and a health certificate must be presented. A theory test must also be taken. People who have had their driving license for less than three years even have to take a practical driving test.

New land, new luck

Emigrating to China is not a problem with a job and an invitation from the employer. Some things work differently in China than in Germany and initially mean a change for emigrants. But this new challenge is what many emigrants are looking for and in such an unfamiliar environment there are many new opportunities and perspectives that must be accepted.

More on the subject:

Cost of Living for Foreigners in China - Expat Bargains Put to the Test

As an expat family to China (Part 4) - the right approach to returning to Germany

Dangerous romances? Beijing's comic book warning of foreign spies

Posting to China: Opportunity and challenge for the partner too

Category: Work in ChinaTags: Visa China