COVID-19 Legal Advice: Jobs and Visas

By now many of us will have received news you won’t be entitled to a full salary in the next few months. COVID-19 has affected a lot of people’s ability to head into work, because of quarantine, or businesses being closed – and both employers and employees face lots of questions about salary and visas..

Some of us are still considering if staying here is the right thing to do. If you are, an article we published earlier may be of some use: Should I stay or should I go now?
If you’ve decided to stay and have legal questions about your job or visa, here’s an update what we known so far:

Legal Advice for Salaries

COVID-19 Legal Advice: Jobs and Visas  Image:

Many of us by now will have been informed our salaries will have been cut. If you can no longer work, or working from home isn’t an option, employers and emplyees will negotiate salary agreement for the first month. We know for the international community, our ability to effectively negotiate, will be very low.

From month two when work still cannot be resumed, your employer can resort to “living expenses”, which is most Chinese cities is 70~80% of the minimum wage standard, meaning less than 2000RMB… which we know will be unlikely to cover most of our rents.

This is just a baseline of what you /should/ get.However it’s being reported that many companies may (a) try to avoid paying anything; or (b) be in genuine in financial difficulty and be unable to pay.”


Severance Pay upon Labor Contract Termination

Severance pay is the legal obligation of the employer to pay compensation to the employee at the time of employment termination.

Severance pay is calculated based on the length of service period multiplied by the employee’s monthly salary. The length of service period refers to the number of years the employee worked for the employer. Any period between six months and one year will be calculated as one year. Any period less than six months will be counted as half of a year.

Note that there is a cap of the amount of the monthly salary for this purpose which is three times the average monthly salary of the place where the employee worked.


2 Months Automatic Visa Extension

COVID-19 Legal Advice: Jobs and Visas

On March 1st 2020, the Director of Border Inspection and Immigration of the NIA, Liu Haitao announced that there will be a 60 day extension for all types of Visas and Residence Permits that otherwise would be expiring during the epidemic period, adding that foreign nationals do not need to go through any procedures for the extension.
We checked out the difference between Residence Permit vs. any other kind of Visa. Here are the details:


A visa allows you entry to China by a set date. Once you enter China the visa allows you to stay for a set number of days. This is usually 30 or 60 days (either in total or per entry).
This announcement affects your current Visa entry stay period. If the Stay Period will expire on or after Jan 24th and before Feb 27th then your visa Stay Period is automatically extended to April 27th. Automatically means you do not need to go anywhere or any letters or stamps. When you are leaving the country they will calculate your stay correctly, with the extension added, at the border.
If your Visa Stay Period expires on or after Feb 27th, and before the end of the epidemic, then you will get a 60-day extension to your current Stay Period.

Residence Permits:

A Residence Permit is issued in China after entering on a visa and allows you to stay continuously until its expiration date. It also permits you to cross the border as often as needed or desired without limitation. Unlike a visa, a Residence Permit has no set number of days per entry. It does, however, have an expiration date.
This announcement affects your expiration date. If your Residence Permit expired on or after Jan 24th and before Feb 27th then it will automatically be extended to April 27th. If your Residence Permit expiration date is between Feb 27th and the end of the epidemic period then you will automatically get a 60 day extension from the date of expiration. Again, automatic means border control will recognize this at the border when you want to exit.
Note: This extension only helps those in China when they are exiting or renewing their Residents Permit in China. It doesn’t help those outside China to come in on the expired Residents Permit.
Good news is that you can reenter on any type of visa and renew your Residents Permit. on arrival.  You don’t need to get a Z Visa to reenter.

We would still advise to check with the local PSB (see below 👇) if you have any questions.


Public Security Bureau

The city’s Exit and Entry Administration Division of Chengdu PSB implemented a series of special services to overseas visitors in a bid to effectively prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
For anyone who currently has legal or visa issues, including online accommodation registration for overseas visitors, foreign-related organizations, and online visa appointment and entrusted services, click here.

COVID-19 Legal Advice: Jobs and Visas

Sources: Labor Contract Law, ChinaLawBlog, NIA, Xinhua, West Spring Solutions, 成都出入境.


Do you have other legal questions?

Anything else people should know?

Let us know in the comments!



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