Oversight of foreign experts to improve

Updated: 2013-05-13 07:11

By Wu Wencong, He Na and Yang Wanli (China Daily)

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Strict process

In line with the reform and opening-up policy and the macro-administration of importing overseas talents to China, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs issued a notice about implementing foreign expert certificates in 1994.

According to the regulation, foreigners need to find an employer that is qualified to hire foreigners in China before obtaining a work permit and a working visa.

After entering the country, they need to obtain foreign expert certificates, which must be renewed annually or when their employer changes.

The first requirement for obtaining the foreign expert certificate listed on the administration's website is "being healthy with a clear criminal record".

Other mandatory materials are health check results, copies of their contract for employment with the Chinese employer, and copies of the health insurance their employer has bought for them. They may then apply for the residence permits from public security departments.

A special criterion has been set for working as a language teacher in China: A bachelor's degree plus two years' work experience.

"For popular destinations such as Shanghai, applicants may need a master's degree," said Xiong Deyi, an official at the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. "But in many places in Northwest China, which are also hungry for foreign teachers, the threshold may be lowered."

Wang Xuming, former spokesman for the Ministry of Education, expressed his worries about the process of introducing foreign teachers.

"Of course, criminal records and other certificates have to be checked and traced," he said.

But Xia said governments around the world usually do not ask foreigners to provide official statements of unblemished criminal records unless they are applying for green cards.

"It does not mean we can only count on their self-statement for a background check," he said. "I know some international schools in Beijing have made these official certificates a mandatory condition of employment. I think this is good."

However, not many schools can make such a determination in an employee's market, especially the public schools that cannot compete with private or international schools in terms of wages.

Hao Youming, principal of the Beijing Chaoyang Foreign Language School, said neither the school nor the education bureau have channels to obtain foreign teachers' official criminal records.

"The best I can do, other than carefully checking their resume, is to ask for teaching permits," she said.