Cup of Cha‘s post called Goodbye Foreign Visitors describes my feelings on the new visa regulations, only more eloquently than I’d put it. This week involved saying goodbye to expat friends, Sven from Tennessee and Christina both left on Saturday.
Any foreigner living in China now will tell you that something weird is going on. Our fellow foreigners are disappearing in great numbers. It as if wild animals are picking them off on their smoggy bike rides to work. Increasingly we feel like Mexicans just inside the American border: looked upon suspiciously, regardless of the legitimacy of our legal status. Perhaps that overstating things, but a lot of people are moving away.
Visas are not being renewed for perpetual tourist and business folks. Some of these de-facto expulsions are legitimate, like people who hang out in China, teaching in a semi-legal status. Others, like business people who are frequent visitors to China, are wrong-headed. The most peculiar trend, and a prominent one at that, is it appears anyone born 1984 or later gets an automatic rejection on new work visas.
Stick and I are both over the age-25 cutoff, and we both think we’re working for reputable schools who can look after our paperwork… but there are mysterious rumors about the inability to renew working visas a second time, or get an L visa for over 30 days, or switch from one kind to another. From everything I’ve heard, shady visa agents are making money hand over fist, while smaller schools and businesses are losing their foreign employees. Seems like a sad situation if expats who love China are forced to head home while under the table “visa services” make more cash.