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Q: Got fired unlawfully. Can they just cancel my visa forcing me to leave China?

After complaining to the local labor bureau about several things like illegal work time and not getting paid according to my contract I received my termination.
My employer is in Baoding. When trying to call the responsible SAFEA bureau in Shijiazhuang - if they pick up at all - they hang up as soon as they realize I cannot speak Chinese.
My employer has a lot of guanxi here. So also dealing with the labor bureau in Baoding is very difficult. They are not helpful at all and just try to delay as much as possible.
I believe that my termination was unlawful based on Chinese labor law.
Now that they cancelled the visa I have no idea what my legal status is. I didn't receive any certificate about the cancellation. Also no letter of release, tax documentation etc.
There are new jobs in China available to me already. And I still have the sticker for the residence permit with several months to go in my passport.
I want to stay in China and receive my outstanding salary. Could somebody explain my options to me? Many thanks for your help.

5 years 38 weeks ago in  Visa & Legalities - Shijiazhuang

 
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Are you sure they've "cancelled" your visa? When you leave a job, whether through resignation or the employer terminating it, the employer has to give you a release letter and the recipt to show they've canceled your work permit (or FEC).

 

You'll need to keep contacting SAFEA as they are the only ones who can help you unless you pay a Chinese lawyer. Also keep going back and pestering the labour bureau to help you get the release letter, recieipt and salary owed.

 

How did the terminate your employement? Unless you broke their working regulations they have to give you 30-days notice. If you've worked there less than 6 months they need to pay you half a months salary, if more than 6 months then they need to pay you 1 months salary.

 

Do you have any Chinese friends who could phone SAFEA for you?

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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Are you sure they've "cancelled" your visa? When you leave a job, whether through resignation or the employer terminating it, the employer has to give you a release letter and the recipt to show they've canceled your work permit (or FEC).

 

You'll need to keep contacting SAFEA as they are the only ones who can help you unless you pay a Chinese lawyer. Also keep going back and pestering the labour bureau to help you get the release letter, recieipt and salary owed.

 

How did the terminate your employement? Unless you broke their working regulations they have to give you 30-days notice. If you've worked there less than 6 months they need to pay you half a months salary, if more than 6 months then they need to pay you 1 months salary.

 

Do you have any Chinese friends who could phone SAFEA for you?

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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Enter 'SAFEA' in search above for address and contact numbers of Provincial Gov. and dial them up.

 

Be polite, and ask for help and advice!

 

In some Provinces (Henan), there's nobody who speaks English, so if it's the same in your Province, either get Chinese person or your student, who can explain the matter in Chinese.

 

I usually ask for answering agent's email address, and I send them an email with detailed description of the problem.

 

I have good experience with at least 5 different Provincial SAFEA, all with contact details out of our web link here!

 

Good luck!

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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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You gotta walk in SAFEA and handle this, no choice. If all else fails no choice, you gotta go to the PSB where you got your visa and one phone call from them will help get the ball going.

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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Wow. Thank you guys for all your immediate feedback. Feel much better already. Smile
Let me get a few things straight.
I came to China as an experienced engineer and was working in Baoding for what's probably the biggest employer in the region... with a lot of clout on local authorities.
NOW I'd like to do teaching work and got some offers already.
I already received a lot of help from friends. They helped me getting labor arbitration started. Which took them really a lot of time and effort.. I want to avoid to stress their kindness too much and try to do things on my own whenever possible. Since my employer also kicked me out of the company's apartment I'm living with a friend now.

HR says they have cancelled the visa and are in possession of the receipt. But don't hand it to me until I stop the labor arbitration...

I just send my local SAFEA office also an email. Let's see if I get a feedback.

My understanding after 1.5 years in China and studying some Chinese law blogs is that things here are usually not simple and clear.. and reading Article 40 of the labor law tells me that my termination was unlawful even if my employer actually pays the economic compensation described in Article 46 /47.

But they don't acknowledge that there is much more money missing (mainly uncompensated overtime). To discuss this I need time and I think now their strategy is to just force me to leave China..!? So I cannot pursue my rights...

Am I legal just with the ok residence permit in my passport?

Englteachted:

Ok, this helps a lot. Go to the PSB immediately. If you're visa is canceled that is where you go to find out. You will need to go with a Chinese friend. You have your FEC in hand?

You need to first check if your visa is really canceled. When were you terminated? When was your visa canceled (supposedly)? It could be a bluff.

Understand you need documented proof, and don't communicate with them over the phone or face to face. Emails and text messages only. Send a message confirming what you were told in person. 

5 years 38 weeks ago
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Englteachted:

Stop with the they have clout nonsense, China is desperately trying attract talented foreigners and if you are here as an engineer you have the option of going to the media.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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Shining_brow:

"HR says they have cancelled the visa and are in possession of the receipt. But don't hand it to me until I stop the labor arbitration..."

 

And what does that tell you?

 

It tells me that either they're bluffing, or they realise they're in a REALLY bad place! Even if they do have guanxi somewhere with someone, it isn't with the arbitration people! And they know they'll be screwed if it goes there. (of course, withholding the receipt - if they actually have one - until you terminate arbitration should also be illegal! It's called 'extortion').

 

I love how Chinese businesses love digging their own grave deeper and deeper... almost as if, by taking the first dig, they have nothing more to lose by digging further and further in :p

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

Yes HR makes it worse and worse.. they are really stupid. I believe it's about some "losing face issue" that I cannot understand.. Cooperation would have saved so much trouble for both sides. Now their reputation is so bad that they can barely find any more Western people.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

You are legal to stay in China till RP expiration (if you didn't visit PSB with your employer for RP cancellation), but you aren't legal to work elsewhere.

For employer switch, you must get FEC Cancel Cert. and Release letter and with both docs. your new employer can get new FEC and you can continue with work in China.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I am not very learned in China labor laws, but you can always contact your embassy in Beijing. I don't know how it works in the case of your country, but from my own experience I can say that they can be really helpful at times. I had a somehow similar problem when my university out of blue refused to inform me about the results of my exam telling me that I don't have the right to learn about my score (typical Chinese bluff) . Believe it or not, but few phone calls to the embassy solved the problem. As long as your workplace believes that you are just a helpless waiguoren they feel strong, but if they get a phone call from the embassy it may work in your favor. Wish you a lot of luck and persistence.

Shining_brow:

Amazing! Sounds like you got onto a really helpful embassy staff member! From what I normally hear, embassies don't like getting involved in domestic legal disputes (unless they're BIG issues).

 

Which country??

5 years 38 weeks ago
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Englteachted:

Sounds like that is not real. Embassies don't get involved but you could have just been lucky.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

Thanks Jack! And please tell me it was the German one. :D My embassy sent me a list of English speaking lawyers and answered my question that indeed I would be illegal two weeks after my contract would be terminated.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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Jackofalltrade:

That was simply my guess. As I said I am not an expert in these matters, but I've received some legal help related to my studies, when most of the people told me I should expect no help whatsoever from any embassy related quarters. You can always try. My advice: take a good look at the website of your embassy and try to find a person responsible for economic contacts with China, or  try in your consulate. German embassy in Beijing is pretty big, there is also an option to contact the Mission of the E.U. in Beijing. Actually I am a Swiss citizen, but I am sure Germany also offers high-quality assistance to its citizens.  And the most important part: be persistent. If they don't want to help you, call them 10 times a day unless they do. It's obvious that nobody wants to get extra loads of work. As per visa thing my guess it's simply a bluff, but of course you should check that. 

 

 

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

Your Embassy is talking BS! I guess, it's not really their business....

Even, if your employer is holding your passport, it will take ages, till (my) Embassy was able to convince Chinese to return my book.

Once, you get Contract termination notice from your employer, you must head with employer to PSB (Exit-Entry cops).

At PSB, coppers will cancel your Residence permit with Visa extension, which length depends on your Contract violation.

If you committed grave violation (crime and similar), cops will grant you 7-days Exit visa extension, and if Contract was terminated without grave violation (at will of employer), you must/will receive 30-days RP extension.

In this 30-day, you can either prepare for exit or you can look for the new employer.

Since, you wrote you already have new employer, your new School will apply for new FEC, and when new FEC is issued, they will take you to PSB, which will just adjust/change their records about your new RP sponsor/employer. There will be no changes in your passport by PSB, and you can continue with working till RP expiration.

For described process, you don't need to exit China, however you must supply Release letter and FEC Cancel Certificate. Both must be issued by your old employer in 30-days after your last working day ---->Chinese law!

SAFEA will help you to get both documents and late salaries out of your employer.

You don't need a lawyer or Embassy for that matter! Dial Provincial SAFEA and ask them for assistance.

I am talking out of my own experience!

 

Once you'll do that, it will be cost free, but since you want to spend monies, you can send funds to my charity, instead. Much obliged! 

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

Detaining an employee's documents/certificates is clearly against Article 84 of the PRC's Labor Law. The employer should get a punishment from authorities according to this article. I found the info about providing release letter and FEC cancellation within 30 days of termination many times here. Can somebody provide the reference to the law?

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

I was coached on that regulation by Liaoning or Xinjiang's SAFEA. There's is somewhere here web link with Chinese law in English, however I am 'street-wise' and I didn't waste my time to read Chinese law. 'Hire Chinese lawyer' is shorter/easier.

My problems with employers in China were mostly Contract violations, for which I don't need to study Chinese law.

Once, I would be 'hurt'/threatened by Law' gravely, I might go into Law studies (seeking for holes in the book is my 'hobby'. Sometimes ....), but all my problems in China required only 'read&understand Contract and dial SAFEA'.

'If document requires my photo, it belongs to me!' ---> my 'Law'!

Employers like to keep FEC in drawer, because they'll face with loads of troubles, if foreign employee walks out of the job and doesn't return FEC to employer/SAFEA for cancelation.

I guess, Gov. give them a lot of troubles, before they issue new FEC for new/another employee, so employer is scared of that, and keep RP in the drawer.

The other thing with FEC is, you must show passport with FEC at ID-ing at Banks (opening of the bank account) or cops.

''Doc. w/ my pic' ONLY in 'my drawer'!"

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I have never had the FEC in my hands. The company arranged everything for us foreigners and also kept all the documents.
Even with Chinese support it was such a big issue to get me registered in my new place here in Baoding. It seems officials don't want to have anything to do with foreigners in their office. Probably I was the first foreigner they have seen in all these police stations trying to get registered.. It took us nearly 2 whole days being sent from one station to the next. I have never been to the one where I was originally registered with while working. It's a different one from where I am registered now. Which place should be responsible to inform about the current visa status?

I think I can trust that they really cancelled my visa at least 2 weeks ago. The termination came into effect one month ago.
Maybe I get into bigger trouble after going to the PSB in person with my passport (they invalidate the sticker in my passport too and also let me know officially..)?

Probably a tricky legal question: If my work contract was not terminated legally - is the visa termination lawful?
I read that it is very hard to dismiss under Chinese law. Probably that is why the company actually seems to encourage people doing the midnight run. I have seen a few coworkers doing it the last couple of months.. and they probably expected from me too.

Englteachted:

Send a message request your FEC or a copy (text or email only) , make clear that you need it to walk into SAFEA. Understand that you can't walk into SAFEA without it.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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Englteachted:

Chinese law means shit, stop making excuses, you need to know for sure about your visa, and you can only find out from the PSB. How were you informed about the cancelation?

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

Does the FEC belong to me? I mean am I entitled to receive it from HR? HR told me they have to cancel the visa after termination. And google tells me they are probably right.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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Englteachted:

You need to have it on you then turn it into them when you finish working. They need to give you the FEC , or copy or the cancelation receipt.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

It is impossible to cancel one's visa/Residence permit without you being present at Exit-Entry Bureau (PSB) with your passport.

Cancellation of RP requires change/notice/new stamp in your book.

They can probably cancel RP online too, but if you left city for travelling around China as an example, online RP cancellation is useless till you don't approach border crossing/exit China.

They might get you at cops ID-ing, because last time I was ID-ed in Guiyang, copper called somewhere, and they might checked validity of me RP through the base's puter.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

Great info. So probably they only cancelled the FEC. I guess it's useless to me anyway since I will change from being a technical expert with engineering experience to teaching German language. But also the German embassy said my residency is tied to me working in China?!

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

Yes, your RP is tied to the employer, and when you change employer in the middle of RP validity, RP cancelation is warranted only in 'grave Contract violation' example.

If no such violation, you can continue with work at another employer with same RP. No China exit is required!

You must visit PSB just so cops can change their records about your new RP sponsor. Did I say that already?

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

..the PSB at the new work place (about 600km away from my current one)?

5 years 38 weeks ago
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Hotwater:

They will have cancelled your FEC, NOT your visa. To transfer to a new job you need to get the cancellation receipt. 

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

PSB in the new city!

 

Employer must bring some of their docs. ('Foreign hire authorisation' as one) and you with your passport. New FEC too, I think (maybe not, I am not sure now).

That's it. There won't be any changes in your passport/RP, but just adjustment of PSB records and your pic at cops camera.

I am talking about changing of employer at Schools, i.e. School to School-Province to Province. I am not sure, if same applies at changing of profession, i.e. 'from banana salesman to Krout's teacher'.

You can ask at SAFEA about that.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Your FEC clearly states on the first page "Issued to Bearer" just like your passport. It is your document.

joerg81:

...thanks I have never seen it.. and they refuse to give it to the foreigners...

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Can you name the School in Baoding, you are talking about, please?

 

You can edit original thread and write name of the School, you described your troubles.

 

It will serve as warning to the other foreign teachers, who are looking for the new position.

joerg81:

It's not a school. I am dealing with Great Wall Motor Comp. The biggest private car maker in China. Already well known for it's military work drill and punishment based company culture. ..but compared to the Chinese people foreigners are in heaven there.. I hear recently their strategy relies more and more on Indian people. Their reputation among Westerners on linkedin et al has become too bad for recruiting Western professionals.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

I am an English teacher, working in China last 7-years, and my posting is based on my own experience. 

I am not sure, how is with other professions, but if FEC was issued by SAFEA, they will certainly assist you.

Dial phone no. out of the web link here. Our web link holds addresses and contact numbers of Provincial SAFEA Headquarters. 

I guess, it works the same in China as in other countries. In English is called 'Federal' and in China English 'Provincial'.

You will also most likely get Chinese English speaker at Prov.'s phone number, what is not always the case at city's SAFEA.

After I dialled Prov. SAFEA, matters at School changed in a heart beat.

School/employer doesn't want to receive call out of Prov. SAFEA, and Gov. will sort them out in 24-hours, i.e. 'one call'!

SAFEA will tell your employer about required/proper procedure, and you are done with BS.

So, what kind of the new employer do you have? It doesn't really matter, but procedure is as I described.

If you'll listen my advice, please return to the Board with up-date on the 'end-of-the-story'!

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

Of course I will. Many thanks!

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

That is the purpose of this Board. ... and my copy&pastes, when I am in the good mood. 

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Wow. So the OP was employed as an engineer. Then he decided to become a teacher.

Different work permits. Brown book verses the blue FEC.

There seems to be a lot of confusion here. Can you change from a brown book to blue? What colour book does the OP have?

If he had a blue book, but was doing a brown book job, that puts a different slant on things.

joerg81:

Good point!

Again, I have actually never even seen the book. But my HR says it is/was brown.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

I was not aware of the difference until recently somebody form the school asked about the colour..

 

Is SAFEA still the right people to contact about the issues with the old employer?

5 years 38 weeks ago
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ScotsAlan:

The small print in the brown book says it is a legal requirement that you carry it with you at all times while in China. Along with your passport and your temp registration document. How did you get your temp registration document without your brown book?

5 years 38 weeks ago
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ScotsAlan:

A brown book is not Safea issue. It is a lobour office issue.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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ScotsAlan:

I am suspicious. Brown book wages start at about 26k a month. Brown books, by their nature, will not be issued for a job paying less than 20k. Blue books get issued for 4k a month jobs. To move from a brown book to blue... Erm. This could be a people trafficing issue. I honestly suggest more research, then maybe a visit to the police with a Chinese speaking friend.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

..the company arranged everything for us and I have to admit I was glad not to have to deal with the administrative things back then... I requested several times that they hand out the work permit to me. They always refused. The company culture is about controlling and suppressing as much as possible.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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ScotsAlan:

How much are they paying, if you dont mind me asking. Ball park figure. As an Engineer I mean.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

:D I guess for 26k nobody with a degree and several years of work experience with German OEMs would consider leaving for GW + Baoding.. ..but in order to have a LIFE and less BS I would happily down trade to a little fraction in salary..

5 years 38 weeks ago
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ScotsAlan:

That's a decent life outlook to have dude. Best of luck to you :-)

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I hate to be the bearer of (potential) bad news @ Mr joerg81, but depending upon which office will do the FEC for you, you may experience some issues by way of your nationality.

 

I can't speak to other areas or administrations but in my small neck of the woods they will only offer those with experience from The Big 5 an FEC - USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand.

 

Mr scotsalan raises an interesting point about the transfer of brown book to blue book. This could throw another spanner in the works because it is, I expect, an uncommon occurrence.

 

And we know how an out of the ordinary situation is often viewed. Too hard, just say no.

 

I hope this is not the case but as they say: hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

 

Good luck and please update your experience for others

 

icnif77:

He'll teach German as I understood, and he is 'Native FT' same as you.

5 years 38 weeks ago
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joerg81:

yes, I know the Chinese are not really good at dealing with reason.. but I would be teaching German. ;) Shouldn't it be handled similar to all the ESL info here? I'm from a native German speaking country..!? Do I necessarily have to transfer to a blue book?

5 years 38 weeks ago
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iWolf:

You could be onto a winner by teaching german (according to the paperwork).

 

As to the colour of the book, sorry but I can't answer that. I guess it would depend upon how they choose to hire you beit via the fec path, alien employment or some other method.

 

It sounds like an international school by the description. If so, then they should have experience in this matter (which I don't have)

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I know the Chinese are not really good at dealing with reason.. but I would be teaching German. Wink Shouldn't it be handled similar to all the ESL info here? I'm from a native German speaking country..!?

Do I necessarily have to transfer to a blue book?

Hotwater:

Teachers get issued with FEC's, Engineers with AEP's (Foreign Expert Certificate versus Alien Employment Permit), so yes the count of book will change. 

5 years 38 weeks ago
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icnif77:

Your example is kind of unique, and as it looks not too many posters here are familiar with procedure of changing from 'brown to blue' book, so I'd say you should get proper guidance from SAFEA. Good luck!

5 years 38 weeks ago
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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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You can name and shame all over the internet on every ESL and China forums to make it extremely hard for them to get a Foreign teacher in the future.

 

Oh they will hate you to death for it, but they can't do anything if you are not in China anymore.

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5 years 38 weeks ago
 
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it's very hard to make the judge even listen to what i had to say..

so a friend also thought publicity would be working better.. Laughing out loud

http://club.m.autohome.com.cn/bbs/thread-c-3298-60828276-1.html

..all the posts together got about 30,000 clicks so far.. Smile

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5 years 18 weeks ago
 
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..there is even a site for naming and shaming.. Laughing out loud

https://www.nameandshame.com/r/cn-hebei-baoding/great-wall-motor-haval-w...

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5 years 14 weeks ago
 
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Yes, they can. 

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5 years 14 weeks ago
 
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..but it gets tricky when the reason for the termination is unlawful..

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5 years 9 weeks ago
 
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in my opinion i am actually not terminated

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5 years 9 weeks ago
 
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OP, I will help you! Contact me ~

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5 years 6 weeks ago
 
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I sent u a pm.

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5 years 3 weeks ago
 
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That's really sad. You do need to keep all documents that prove you are here living and working legally (FEC etc). If the company won't show evidence that they cancelled the visa, they didn't. If you push forth in court, it all has to come to light and they'll lose.

 

For any other readers, if you were not fired on paper with stamp, you'd better keep going to work. Unfortunately I've heard SAFEA is not helpful for non Chinese speakers so I recommend getting an immediate lawyer. Even an intern at the courthouse can help with the first round (arbitration).

icnif77:

Enter 'SAFEA' in search above for address and contact no. in your Province and dial them up.

Safea's link here will display Provincial HQ, where you will most likely get in touch with English speaking Chinese agent.

 

Then, come back and tell us about 'helpful' again!

 

I usually dial SAFEA when I can't reason with party A on Contract (dis)-respect. I dialed them in 5 different Provinces at least and I always received prompt problem's resolution. 

 

Your ears must be huge .... 

5 years 3 weeks ago
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joerg81:

I was not a teacher, SAFEA is not responsible for my case. Anyway, back then I called them a few times and they hung up when I tried to talk to them in English ...

 

My employer canceled my employment permit illegally. I even had the confirmation letter in my hands once during the arbitration and second time during the hearing at the court.

Now I even have a judgment that says they should hand out the document to me. They still delay everything ... Their hope is to solve the issue when they make me leave China ...

 

How can you go to work when you cannot enter the building? I made them sign that they received my letter saying that I don't agree with the termination and still offer to come to work. They received it before the termination came into effect.

5 years 3 weeks ago
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5 years 3 weeks ago
 
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are u a lawyer how do u know u got fired unlawfully

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5 years 2 weeks ago
 
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sorry for the late reply @bat22.
i can read (the chinese labor law - in english). and i already have a judgement.

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5 years 1 week ago
 
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