Z Visa Update: The Bigger Picture

Sunday, June 8, 2008 7:04
Posted in category Red Tape, The Big Picture

6 months after I started reporting on the clampdown on visas, it is now a full blown party with major newspapers and blogs all reporting pretty thoroughly on the issue.

A new piece of information that I have to add at what I have already seen at the other sites, that no one else has covered, is that I recently was sitting in a clients office when their HR person gave us some bad news

Anyone born after 1983 can no longer get a Z visa.

What struck me about this was that if true this would represent the first real change in policy. After all, working on an F visa was always outside the rules, and even extending a Z visa to rep office employees was a poorly enforced rule… but but restricting Z visas to those older than 25… THAT IS NEW

Surely, if true, we are going to see a bunc of China bashing, but where I would like to frame this is that when there were economic downturns in Asia circa 1997 and the US circa 2000, there was almost an immediate visa restriction that came along with it. Leadership looked to save jobs for citizens, and those firms who wanted to import labor had to jump a lot of hurdles to prove that doing so was a last report… .that they could not find someone locally.

I myself was caught up in this as I had a bank in Singapore tell me they would like to have me join the team, but could get no visa for me as I was a recent graduate and they would not be able to defend the hire…. and that sucked for me.

Right now, there are a lot of rumors circulating about people having visas canceled, about new hires finding it difficult to get a visa, and others who are having their visas checked… and there is some truth to all these rumors. And people should be aware that the situation will only tighten as we get closer to the Olympics.

but, I would like to put forward another possibility.

China doesn’t need foreign talent in the same way it did before, and China is going to start asking companies to begin proving that a Fudan student is not as good as a University of Ohio graduate with 1 year of experience before hiring the University of Ohio student.

That, China is more worried about graduate placement rates, and that part of the issues with visas get down tot the fact that there is a large population of foreigners who are in China working in restaurants, bars, in entry level sales positions, and who in the eyes of some are taking good jobs away from local talent.

In the end, proving one’s value is something that China will ask more and more. this is something we have seen at a business level, and it is something that is now occuring at the individual level. .. and I am not sure that is suck a bad thing.

Sure it sucks for some right now, but policies like this actually have a way of separating those who rally will bring value to China vs. those who are simply here riding the wave into the beach.

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