Dear Jamie: My Boss Won't Get Me a Work Visa

By That's PRD, January 4, 2018

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Dear Jamie is a regular series where our readers seek advice from Jamie, a Guangdong-based life coach.

Dear Jamie,

I recently relocated from Italy to Zhuhai for a job I applied for through an online English teaching agency. When I was first contacted by the training center I’m now working at, they assured me that I’d be given accommodations, a full time job with a reasonable salary and a work visa. While they’ve delivered on the first two promises, they have been unable to get me a work visa because I’m “not a native English speaker.” 

China has rules regarding how and to whom work visas are issued, and I understand that. But I can’t help but feel misled by my employer, who has simply told me to continue working on a tourist visa.

I love living in Zhuhai, but after three months in ‘visa limbo’ I’m beginning to think it’s best to head back to Europe and pursue a career with my degree.

-Visaless in Zhuhai

Dear Visaless,

The situation you currently find yourself in is an all too common one. And while we could waste time pondering who’s to blame, it’s probably most important to focus on the fact that you’re currently employed without the appropriate paperwork and thus breaking the law. 

Unscrupulous options aside, you essentially have two choices: throw in the towel and hit as many of China’s fantastic ‘AAAAA’ tourist attractions as possible before heading home, or, if you really love living in Zhuhai (and want to continue living in ‘the city of a hundred islands’), find a new job that provides you with that oh-so-coveted work visa. 

While the latter option will undoubtedly require some leg work and comes with no guarantees, you may find yourself surprised with the number of interesting job opportunities (that include a work visa) that are available in the PRD.

And heck, if you’re already considering retreating with your tail between your legs back to Italy, you really have nothing to lose by hitting the pavement and handing out a few resumes.


Stuck in a jam (sandwich)? Email Jamie for some peanut butter at

For more Dear Jamie click here.

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