Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, it is not written by an attorney licensed to practice law in China. It is not intended to provide legal advice that you should act on. Individual situations will differ and should be discussed with a lawyer. 

New foreign-language operator service launched! A new hotline in various language has been launched. This service follows the national 114 'directory enquiries' operator service if you need to locate a phone number of a business. After dailing the number, you can choose a final digit to access the specific language you require.  

Employer problems? Contractual issues? Need to know your right?

Try our step by step complaints process. You should try to go through each channel in turn. We are not entirely sure of the effectiveness of these official organisations and if you find a more effective way, please do let us know! wnic@qq.com. WNIC is not a legal service. We are not liable or responsible for the information, contact organisations and any advice given on this page. We will try our best to help you.


Talk to your company boss. Find a solution that pleases both your side and their side. If you still feel you're being treated unfairly, you can sek advice using the "Foreigner Service Center" number (above).


You can contact the "Hunan Provincial Bureau of Foreign Experts" (1 Hunan Shaoshan Lu, Changsha). Tel: 0731-82215730. This is the Beijing Government's representative department in Changsha. You may need a Chinese person to help make the call in Chinese. The extent of their ability to represent foreigners who feel their contract has been breached is unknown by WNIC sources. However, they 'handle' all foreigners with fully registered Resident Permits and the usual legal employment paperwork. < Website >


You can visit the main police station (Public Security Bureau), located in the tallest building on the West side of the river, on Wuyi Dadao, to inform them of your circumstances. Tel:0731-82587653 or 0731-82587623. The PSB issues your visa and residence permit along with all other legal documents. You can find all Hunan county PSB offices here.


You may have to contact a local law firm. You can also contact your embassy/consulate in China although their remit may not be enough to cover 'domestic matters' (which your employment is). We can provide details of law firms (simple send us a form, right) and we'll do our best to help you out.


If you intend to stay in China longer than 180 days, China’s immigration rules mean you will need to obtain a Residence Permit. Every foreigner living in China has to register with the Public Security Bureau (PSB) via you local police station on arrival, for tourists hotels normally complete the registration process for you. Resident permit holders should also be aware that you are required to re-register each time you return from a trip abroad. If you need to change or extend your visa, renew your residence permit or if you have had a baby, you will need to contact the local Public Security Bureau office for the area where you live. If you obtain a new British passport, you will also need to register the new passport with the PSB. Foreign resident issues are handled by the Entry-Exit Administration of the PSB. If you're employed then your empoyer should assist you with police matters. If you're a student then your learning provider can help do this.


China’s visa regulations state that proof of no criminal record is required for foreign nationals applying for a work or resident permit. To obtain a criminal record check for use in China, covering time spent abroad you can: Contact the authorities nearest to where you lived at the time from your home country The Chinese authorities may ask for a document to be “legalised”.  Check with your consulate first. To apply for a certificate while you are resident in China, you should apply to your local Public Security Bureau (PSB) To obtain a certificate after you have left China you should contact the local PSB; however you can also try service companies that offer to help foreign residents (a Google or Baidu search can help). In Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the local notary public is responsible for issuing such a certificate. If you're still unable to get In Beijing, the Shuang Xiong Company offers this service for current or former residents of Beijing so they may be able to give some advice when trying to get your Changsha papers.  Their contact details are: No.3 Dongdajie (100m east of Public Security Bureau),  Andingmen,  Dong Cheng District  Tel: +86 10 6402 7616 / 6402 7596; Fax: +86 10 6402 7596. Email: shuangxiong516@sina.com

Frequently Asked Questions (by expats):


  • "My residence permit is being processed right now so I don't have my passport in my possession. However, I have to get up to Chengdu tonight for a meeting. What's the deal with flying while waiting for residence permits to be processed?"

Answer from another expat: "That's exactly what I'm dealing with right now. All the things I've researched have been mixed. Apparently as long as you told them you were supposed to travel while it was being processed, that pink receipt you got should have had your passport picture glued to it as well as stamped with an official stamp. With it, apparently you could fly (I want to but I'm not going to take any chances). Without it, you're pretty screwed for everything except for a bus."


  • "Friendly reminder for those, in china on a work visa, returning to China from a foreign country after summer holiday [though it applies to every leaving except Macao and Hong Kong [ I think]. Be sure that, within 24 hours of arriving back, you [or your school or employer] 'checks' you 'back in' to Hotel China by notifying the friendly [or is it fiendly?] officers at your neighborhood Gong An hospitality center [a/k/a "Cop Shop"]. There is a financial penalty that can be imposed for each day you are late. if you are in the countryside you have 72 hours. Horror story. My first year here an American went to Thailand over spring festival and didn't "check back in" when she tried to leave at the end of the contract this person faced a 5000 bill. She didn't know she had to and had relied on the school to sort things like this out. The school [dishonorably] tried to dodge responsibility but thankfully we reviewed all the old emails that had gone back and forth between the teacher and the commercial college on Tongzipo [it shall remain unnamed] and found that a certain administrator [still there] had specifically promised to inform the Gong An. Needless to say said administrator had to burn up a fair amount of "guangxi" with a colonel of police to avoid the large fine and was tagged with a smaller fine. Lessons learned. Never ever assume your employer is doing something. cheers"

Answer from another expat: "If you go to Hong Kong or Macao you should register in the gong an office within 24 hours. The rule apply when you leave mainland China. And make sure THAT THEY ENTER ALL YOUR FIRST NAMES + NAMES.... sometimes they don't know how to use their computers and then you could get trouble later"


  • "Hello, i am a Chinese language student from Bangladesh in Changsha China, i am not attending my University from last few months and my uni is saying that they will revoke my visa, i want to know if they can do that or not bcoz i didn't give them my passport, if they can do it then what will be the problems for me in China? And if i am able to buy air ticket n go back? Also if they do anything at the airport?"

Answer from an expat: "Yes, they can revoke your visa without your passport. There is a fine for overstaying your visa of 500 rmb per day, however it's discretionary and if it's viewed as purposely overstaying, penalties may be harsher. You can buy a plane ticket after your visa has been revoked."

Answer from an expat: "Technically you do need ID to travel, but if you buy tickets from smaller shops, they usually won't ask for any ID at all as long as you can tell them your passport number. If you buy tickets at an actual train station you may not be able to do that (in Shanghai they've always insisted on seeing mine), but I've never had anyone look at my visa (I would know, my passport is a complete mess of visas and no one ever finds it without spending some time). I regularly travel by train a couple of times each month and to be honest, I never actually need my passport at all other than buying tickets directly from a train station. Even then, you can usually give them something like a driver's license and just give them some excuse for not having your passport. Unless you have some unusually bad luck, you should be fine."


This 'story' is still 'developing' but since many are in the looking-for-a-job mode, I'm passing along the facts as I know them. 
Upon ending an employment relationship with a Chinese employer, the employer may be legally required [I am not certain on this legal point, but 'law' in China has a different meaning 'law' in other countries] to issue a 'form' report which appears on what looks like an 'official' government required form. 
It is one page with boxes and spaces for narrative and "check here" boxes which includes the employees name, inclusive dates of service, passport number and other details regarding the employee and the contract performance. It is unclear whether the soon-to-be former employer must show these to the soon-to-be former employee before distributing them to prospective employers. I do not know. This I do know the form is completed by the employer in Chinese. A translation was not provided in any of the circumstances that I know of.

Now, oftentimes employers will provide an English language letter of recommendation, on employer stationery--not on a government-looking form.

So, two pieces of paper, both related to the contract performance. With me so far?

One would expect there to be no significant variation between the messages contained in the two documents. Well.... its China... and one would be in error to make such an assumption based upon Western expectations.

So read, and have read to you by a trusted Chinese speaker, the Chinese language form. Your English language recommendation may speaking glowingly of you, you are the Einstein and Florence Nightingale of the teaching profession, illumination flows like water from you, students worship you, your supervisors are devastated that you aren't returning to work at their esteemed institution. 
While the Chinese form paints a much less complimentary picture [Lex Luther?] that is not necessarily [this being China after all] rooted in any uncontested factual reality. And even if factually correct, say you had to miss a day or two of work and obtained permission and assumed it wouldn't be mentioned in any assessment since you had obtained permission it may be 'spun' negatively on the form [i.e. repeat absences] If you discover such a pointed difference in narratives about you. Don't just take. Bitch about it to the employer issuing it. use the terms where appropriate, defamation, illegal, factually false, harmful, interfere with ability to obtain employment. Bitch in writing, insist on revision of the form, a copy of the form, and destruction of the old, unacceptable, form. 


  • "hey does anyone know where i can get official documents translated into english here?" 

Answer from an expat: "Go to the government, there is a notary officethe officials will translate and notarize for you, but it may cost several hundreds, my English version of birth certification costs 400 RMB."

"oh sorry ,just saw that you said you need get notarized too .. well , i know where you can get it done . go to 长沙市蓉园公证处add :韶山北路9 i lost the number but i am pretty sure that you can get it from 114. i did some of my documents there before"

"Notarization office near houjiatang . On the laodong road across from Yali Mid school . 公证办事处!its on the second floor . Will cost u around 200 yuan per page"


  • "My employer said she can't give me the separation certificate or recommendation letter until the end of my contract according to the law. is this true?"

Answer from an expat: "Legally they don't *have* to give it to you until the end of your contract. I think they have up to 30 days after your contract expires to provide it, but knowing that you need it to sign a new of for a new job and obtain a new Residence Permit before the old one expires it's a pretty scumbag act."

"My school gave me mine about 3 weeks ago which was a surprise - I thought they'd balk about it until the last minute leaving me to have to do a time wasting and costly visa run." 

"I assume you have a new school lined up.....might be worth them getting on the phone and chasing it down, especially if they have better guanxi that your current school you may find your FAO at the moment snaps to attention really quickly and gets it done."

"I do understand their hesitation to a degree though - essentially the release letter states you've already satisfied the conditions of your contract. I wonder if they've provided these early before and had FTs kind of disappear work-wise if you know what I mean."

"But yeah....tell your new boss the current one is stalling. I'm sure they've dealt with it before and can put a bomb under someone's ass."


  • "If someone reading this possesses a "D" visa [Permanent Residence Visa] for the PRC and wouldn't mind taking the time to relate the process you went through I would appreciate it."

Answer from an expat: "The D visa is very rare, apparently less than 500 got issued last year. I know of only one person to have a D visa, I met them on anther forum (Dave's esl cafe) and he told me it took years to get and cost them quite a bit. Good luck if you're going to try it!"

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Always make sure you have been issued the correct visa for your purposes by your employer. It is illegal to work on a tourist visa if you're engaged in any type of work. There are occasional residential and workplace police inspections.

Contact WNIC

Click on these sections below to see information provided by The State Council of the People's Republic of China in Beijing: