Opinion / Featured Contributors

Foreign graduates struggle to land a job

By Song Jingyi ( Updated: 2016-08-01 14:39

Foreign graduates struggle to land a job

Néstor Matus, a 26-year-old Mexican foreign graduate from the Beijing Institute of Technology, fills in the job application form before haveing the interview. [Photo provided to] 

"It's difficult to find a job in Beijing, even though there are a lot of both Chinese and international companies, as most firms prefer to hire local people," said Néstor Matus, a 26-year-old Mexican foreign graduate from the Beijing Institute of Technology.

As one of thousands of international students in China, Nestor feels lucky to be an intern at a Beijing-based technology company as he can speak fluent Chinese.

For expat graduates in China, the language barrier makes them hard to find a job and it's worse if you don't have much work experience. Previously just a foreign passport was enough to get a job.

Kao Nou Thao, from the US, with a master's degree in journalism and communication, works as a content analyzer in an English broadcast company in Beijing after a six-month internship.

"There is not much information about jobs in English-language media companies online. I emailed my resume many times but got few responses," said Kao Nou Thao.

Moreover, the threshold required to get work visa disqualifies many aspirants. According to the Regulations of the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China, two-year full-time related experience is required for a foreign graduate to get a work visa.

"If the visa policy is relaxed, a great many international students will opt to stay in China to work," Kao Nou Thao added.

Ualikhanova Assem, from Kazakhstan, a master's student majoring in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages, who dreams to stay in China as a teacher, said she agreed with Kao Nou Thao.

"It is impossible to get a job after graduation under the current policy as few students will have the needed experience. We foreigners came here to study, so how can we get the two-year work experience after graduation?"

Considering that millions of Chinese graduates each year and the cutthroat job market, the restriction seems understandable to some expats.

"Since there are too many Chinese, they have to protect the market and give Chinese students the chance to find jobs after graduation first," Néstor Matus said.

Despite the tough situation, many experts think that things are getting better for international students, albeit very slowly.

"Starting in March this year, an easing of current restrictions will mean that international students should find it easier to find part-time job and to secure internships in Zhongguancun of Beijing, also dubbed as China's Silicon Valley," said Li Yong, deputy director of career service center in UIBE.

"I think the policy is gradually changing towards deregulation and will get better for international graduates in the next five years," said Chen Zhiming, China Daily's International staff office director.

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