The Measures for the Administration of Work-Study for Inter Students in Schools of Higher Learning published at the end of 2021 is the first edition of the more detailed normative document issued by the People’s Republic of China specifically for the work-study activities of international students.
Although other laws and regulations have previously regulated the work-study behavior of international students, there is no unified and specific document to guide it in detail.
Therefore, the release of these measures is of great significance. It shows that China’s laws and regulations on the management of international students are gradually improving, and they are moving towards an open road. So what are the main points of the newly issued document that deserve our attention? Let’s interpret it for you:
1. About Hours and Salary of Work-Study for Inter Students in Schools
The newly promulgated document continues the previous regulations on the duration and salary of work-study in the Measures for the Administration of Work-Study in Institutions of Higher Learning, that is:
“In principle, the time for students to participate in work-study should not exceed 8 hours per week and 40 hours per month”, and clarified that “During the winter and summer vacations, the time for students to participate in work-study should not exceed 16 hours per week and 80 hours per month in principle”.
In terms of treatment, whether it is on-campus or off-campus work-study, the remuneration standards for international students and Chinese students are still similar, that is, not lower than the local minimum living standard or minimum wage standard.
2. About On-Campus Work-Study
As far as on-campus work-study is concerned, it is foreseeable that on-campus work-study positions open to Chinese students may be gradually opened to international students. On the other hand, on-campus work-study positions with international characteristics that are specially open to international students may appear. Compared with off-campus work-study, on-campus work-study is simpler in procedure, more convenient, standardized, and more secure, but the salary level may not be high.
3. About Off-Campus Work-Study
These measures put forward some prerequisites for international students to engage in off-campus work-study activities. It specifically mentions that only international students who have studied continuously in the current school for more than a year can participate in off-campus work-study activities, which means that freshmen do not have the eligibility to participate in off-campus work-study activities.
At the same time, the measures mentioned that only international students with “the remaining valid residence time of more than six months” can participate in off-campus work-study, which means that many international students holding short-term study visas/residence permits are also restricted from participating in off-campus work-study programs. In addition, the geographical scope of work-study should be limited to the municipal administrative area with districts where the school is located.
It is worth noting that these measures do not restrict or guide the off-campus work-study positions, employer types, industries, professional qualifications, and so on. Are international students qualified to engage in language teaching jobs in off-campus work-study activities? Can international students work as entertainers or even bar DJs? It is expected that these specific questions can be answered in the implementation rules of the work-study management measures for international students to be promulgated by local governments/schools.
It should be reminded that if your work-study behavior exceeds the time and scope stipulated by the law, you will still face the risk and punishment of “illegal employment”, such as fines, detention, and even deportation. Therefore, let’s abide by the law when engaging in work-study activities.
Although these measures have been promulgated by the end of 2021, it will still take some time for provincial education administrative departments and colleges and universities to formulate detailed work-study implementation rules for international students, especially to further regulate the conduct of off-campus work-study activities. Let’s be patient. After all, they are already on the way to legalizing part-time jobs for international students. I believe that the future of studying in China will be bright, and the dream of studying in China will be easier to realize.