What to Know: Engineering Jobs in China for Foreigners
China is now enjoying the glory of the spotlight for being the world’s biggest economy, snatching attention away from super powers like Singapore and Germany. It is, therefore, no surprise that this country is now home to thousands of expatriates, and it was recently ranked as the best job destination based on salary packages offered against the cost of living.
The booming economy has created an increasing demand for qualified workers. Many foreigners come with exemplary skills from their previous highly specialized jobs, which is what the Chinese economy needs. Previously, there was a high supply of teaching jobs in China for Indians and other foreigners alike. However, most expats end up working in technical industries for the foreign companies rather than the Chinese rivals. Today, China has vacancies for expats in virtually any industry, with the most in-demand careers being engineering, manufacturing and production, sales and marketing, tourism, and information technology.
Engineering Jobs in China
Every year, Chinese universities pump out a preposterous number of engineers, which is really strange since foreign engineers are still in high demand. The fact is that these universities have the same old training system, while the job market requires a workforce with highly specialized skills, or those experienced in newer fields such as oil and gas, clean energy, general heavy industry and automotive. There are loads of engineering jobs in China for English speakers as the foreign experts give the companies an air of prestige since they have experience in globally recognized projects, and it helps if they have a working knowledge of Mandarin.
What Are Your Qualifications?
There are endless engineering jobs in China for Americans and other foreigners from developed countries. As an expat with education from the US or the UK, the qualifications are widely recognized and acceptable. However, you need to know how you can explain your qualifications to your potential employers.
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Apart from the academic papers such as Bachelors and Masters Degrees, foreigners looking for engineering jobs must adhere to International Competence Standards in addition to being registered with the engineering regulatory boards in China and their equivalent back home. The aspiring engineer must also have a few years of experience depending on the specific job. Proficiency in International Professional Engineers Agreement is a huge plus. You can get mechanical engineering jobs in China without much hassle, especially if you are a foreigner, as well as civil engineering jobs. China has endless opportunities in this fields.
Having a working knowledge of Mandarin will definitely expand your horizons as you can get any job with either local or foreign company. It also pays handsomely to learn the Chinese culture and business etiquette. If you are yet to take Mandarin classes, you can opt to work for the foreign companies in big cities such as Beijing. Even with loads of jobs available in China for foreigners, keep in mind that you may be working with local colleagues whose languages are limited. While English and Chinese are the national languages, Chinese nationals communicate in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
A typical working week in China involves 5 days, Monday to Friday, with an average of about 8 hours a day, although working overtime is a common occurrence. However, beware of the local companies as they fail to compensate for the work done overtime. In most cases, holiday entitlement is almost negligible, but employees have a right to between 5 and 15 days paid leave depending on how long they have been employed, and 11 days of paid public holidays. These same conditions pretty much cut across the board, even if you are looking for hotel jobs in China for foreigners and not necessarily an engineering career.
The Chinese tax year runs from January to December and the exact income tax rate depends on the amount you get. The progressive income tax scale starts at 3% and ends at 45%.
Finding Engineering Jobs for Expats
Are you interested in working for a specific company? If so, look them up and submit your application depending on their vacant positions and your qualifications. It doesn’t hurt to have them keep a copy of your qualifications if there is no immediate vacancy that suits your credentials. If you are like many other expats who are simply looking to advance their engineering careers in China, then you can start your search on China’s recruitment sites.
You will find that in most recruitment sites, the jobs are advertised in Mandarin. It helps if you know how to communicate in the local language. If one of the qualifications of a particular job is working knowledge of the local language, you may need to enroll for some classes.
Immigration and Visas
All foreigners require visas to get into China. Therefore, before you arrive, make sure your papers are in order. If you want to be legally allowed to work n the country, you must have a valid Visa. The type of visa you get depends on the purpose of the visit and the duration of stay in China. For those pursuing advancement in engineering career, a Chinese working Z Visa should be obtained from your local embassy. Upon arrival in China, you must register your details with the Public Service Bureau within 24 hours.
Visas do expire at some point. Therefore, if you are planning to stay in China long after your visa expires, you will be required to have residence as well as work permit. If your visa card states your reasons as study (F Visa) or tour (L Visa), it will be illegal to work in China, even if you are only taking advantage of the countless hotel jobs in China for foreigners to get a few extra coins.
While both foreign and purely Chinese owned engineering firms operating in China value the technical expertise that foreign experts bring on board, it is no secret that the English speaking generalists are quickly becoming extinct. The job market now demands that the newbies in China learn proper language skills to afford them better opportunities in the country. Countless Chinese business experts advise westerners seeking employment in China to learn the language and culture of the locals for an easier stay in the country.