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Foreign Students to Work in China: Latest Policy Change in 2022

Date:2023-01-09  |  Author:

The Measures for the Adminration of Work-Study for International Students in Institutions 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. (The original text and English translation of the Measures are attached below.) 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 key points of the newly issued document that deserve our attention? Let me interpret it for you:

1. About Work-Study Hours and Salary

First of all, 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 shall 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 shall 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 one 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 shall 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.

4. Work-Study Tips

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.

( The original text and English translation of the Measures are attached below )

Measures for the Administration of Work-Study for International Students in Institutions of Higher Learning


Article 1 For the purpose of regulating the work-study activities of international students in institutions of higher learning, improving the education level of opening to the outside, in accordance with the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China, Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreigners, Provisions on the Administration of Students in Regular Institutions of Higher Education, and Administrative Measures for the Enrollment and Cultivation of International Students by Schools, these measures are formulated.

第一条 为规范高等学校国际学生勤工助学活动,提升教育对外开放水平,根据《中华人民共和国出境入境管理法》《中华人民共和国外国人入境出境管理条例》《普通高等学校学生管理规定》《学校招收和培养国际学生管理办法》等规定,制定本办法。

Article 2 These measures shall apply to institutions of higher learning offering higher education for academic qualifications (hereinafter referred to as schools/universities).

第二条 实施学历高等教育的高等学校(以下简称学校)适用本办法。

Article 3 The term "work-study" as mentioned in these measures refers to the practical activities of international students to improve their study and living conditions by obtaining legal remuneration through labor in their spare time under the organization and management of the school, excluding the teaching practice and social practice organized by the school for international students according to the teaching plan.

第三条 本办法所称勤工助学,是指国际学生在学校的组织和管理下,利用课余时间,通过劳动取得合法报酬,用于改善学习和生活条件的实践活动,不包括学校按照教学计划组织国际学生参加教学实习和社会实践。

Article 4 The in and out of school work-study activities of international students shall be conducted under the unified leadership and overall arrangement of the university, in accordance with the principles of spare capacity for learning, voluntary application, giving priority to helping the poor and abiding by laws and regulations. The university shall formulate relevant implementation rules to clarify the specific measures of work-study for international students, the rights and responsibilities of corresponding internal functional departments.

第四条 国际学生校内外勤工助学活动按照学有余力、自愿申请、扶困优先、遵纪守法的原则,在学校统一领导、统筹安排下进行。学校应当制定相关实施细则,明确本校国际学生勤工助学具体办法及内部相应职能部门的权责。

Article 5 In principle, international students should work no more than 8 hours per week and no more than 40 hours per month. During summer and winter vacation, no more than 16 hours per week, no more than 80 hours per month.

第五条 国际学生校内外勤工助学,原则上每周不超过8小时,每月不超过40小时。寒暑假期间,原则上每周不超过16小时,每月不超过80小时。

Article 6 The university shall not arrange or authorize students to participate in toxic, harmful and dangerous production activities, and shall ensure that international students engaged in work-study activities have purchased insurance covering work-study activities.

第六条 学校不得安排或授权学生参加有毒有害和危险的生产作业,且须确保从事勤工助学活动的国际学生已购买覆盖勤工助学活动的保险。

Article 7 On-campus work-study positions for international students should be mainly on-campus teaching assistants, scientific research assistants, administrative assistants, and school public services. The post setting should not only meet the needs of students but also avoid occupying normal study time. The salary expenses of international students' on-campus work-study activities shall be arranged by the university as a whole.

第七条 国际学生校内勤工助学,岗位设置应以校内教学助理、科研助理、行政管理助理和学校公共服务等为主。岗位设置既要满足学生需求,又要避免占用正常学习时间。国际学生校内勤工助学活动的薪酬支出由学校统筹安排。

Article 8 Work-study international students are paid according to the following standards: fixed positions on campus are paid monthly. In principle, the remuneration for 40 working hours per month shall not be lower than the minimum living standard of local residents and may fluctuate appropriately.

第八条 国际学生勤工助学按以下标准计酬:校内固定岗位按月计酬。每月40个工时的酬金原则上不低于当地居民最低生活保障标准,可适当上下浮动。

Temporary positions on campus are paid by the hour. The hourly remuneration can be reasonably determined with reference to the minimum hourly wage standard stipulated by the people's government where the school is located.


The remuneration standard of off-campus work-study should not be lower than the minimum wage standard stipulated by the local people's government or relevant departments, which shall be determined by the employer through consultation with the students, and the amount of remuneration shall be stated in the employment agreement.


Article 9 International students engaged in off-campus work-study activities shall meet the following basic requirements:

第九条 国际学生从事校外勤工助学活动,需满足以下基本条件:

(1) Be at least 18 years old and meet the physical conditions required by the work-study post;


(2) Hold a valid residence permit for study in China with a remaining valid residence period of at least six months;


(3) Abide by the laws and regulations of the People's Republic of China, the rules and regulations of the University, have good conduct and good performance, and have no criminal record or violation of discipline;


(4) Undergraduate students, junior college students, postgraduate students, advanced students or research scholars who have studied continuously for more than one year at the current university;


(5) Academic progress and attendance meet the requirements of the university;


(6) Other conditions stipulated by the university.


Article 10 The student shall submit a copy of the agreement signed with the employer to the university for the record, and at the same time submit a unilateral commitment letter to make commitments on risk-taking and other aspects.

第十条 学生应将与用人单位之间签署协议书副本提交学校备案,同时提交单方承诺函,对风险承担等方面作出承诺。

Article 11 International students engaged in work-study activities outside the school shall apply for a residence permit with the work-study related information such as the workplace and duration added from the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the local public security organ where the school is located within 10 days according to the relevant regulations by presenting the agreement, the school certification letter and relevant materials. The holder of the residence permit without work-study relevant information is not allowed to engage in work-study activities outside the school.

第十一条 国际学生在校外从事勤工助学活动,须持协议书、学校证明函件及相关材料,按照有关规定于十日内向学校所在地公安机关出入境管理部门申请居留证加注工作单位、期限等勤工助学相关信息。持用未加注勤工助学相关信息的居留证不得进行校外勤工助学活动。

International students who want to change the off-campus work-study workplace and duration should apply for changing the annotation information to the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the local public security organ within 10 days by presenting the new agreement and the school certification letter.


International students who terminate off-campus work-study activities due to reasons such as the employer’s termination of the agreement should submit a written report to the school within ten days, and go through the modification of the annotation information to the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the local public security organ.


Article 12 The geographical scope of work-study shall be limited to the municipal administrative area with districts where the school is located. The duration of work-study for each application shall not exceed the validity period of the study residence permit, and the maximum period shall not exceed one year.

第十二条 勤工助学地域范围限于学校所在地设区的市级行政区域内。每次申请勤工助学期限不超过学习类居留许可有效期,且最长不超过一年。

Article 13 If the international student has any of the following circumstances, the university shall cancel his/her work-study qualification and promptly report to the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the public security organ:

第十三条 国际学生如有以下情况之一,学校应取消其勤工助学资格,并及时向公安机关出入境管理部门报告:

(1) Having completed the study, not succeed graduated, suspended or dropped out of school;


(2) In violation of national laws and regulations or the relevant management systems of the university;


(3) Having the inferior moral quality or violating public order and good customs, thus causing adverse effects;


(4) Other circumstances that are deemed by the school to be unsuitable for continuing work-study, such as affecting studies due to work-study, etc.


Article 14 International students whose work-study activity exceeds the specified scope or time limit shall be investigated and punished by the Exit and Entry Administration Department of the public security organ in accordance with the law.

第十四条 国际学生勤工助学超出岗位范围或规定时限的,由公安机关出入境管理部门依法予以查处。

Article 15 All provincial education administrative departments shall coordinate and supervise the work-study activities of international students in their administrative areas in conjunction with local public security, immigration management, human resources and social security departments, and guide schools in their administrative areas to formulate and improve the implementation rules of work-study for international students in combination with their own and local actual conditions, implement dynamic management on the scope of work-study posts for international students according to relevant local regulations.

第十五条 各省级教育行政部门应会同当地公安、移民管理、人力资源社会保障等部门,对本行政区域内国际学生勤工助学活动进行协调和监管,指导本行政区域内学校结合本校及当地实际情况,制订完善国际学生勤工助学实施细则,根据当地相关规定对国际学生勤工助学岗位范围实施动态管理。

Article 16 The university shall earnestly fulfill the principal responsibility of the administration of work-study for international students, strengthen the daily education, inspection and tracking management, and standardize the on-campus and off-campus work-study activities of international students.

第十六条 学校应切实履行国际学生勤工助学管理的主体责任,加强日常教育、检查和跟踪管理,规范国际学生校内校外勤工助学活动。

Article 17 These Measures shall take effect as of the date of printing and issuing.

第十七条 本办法自印发之日起实施。