Can Foreign Students Work While Studying in China?

Can Foreign Students Work While Studying in China?

Students always want to find ways to earn while studying abroad to reduce the financial burden on their parents. In the past, students who chose to study MBBS in China also wanted to work legally during their studies, which was not possible before. However, the situation has now changed and the Chinese government has taken the bold decision to allow foreign students over the age of 18 to work while studying in China.

However, the Chinese government has maintained some of the rules that foreign students must follow in order to work in China during their studies, and the Chinese Ministry has described the measures that apply to the administration of work-study assistance for foreign students in colleges and universities, which are as follows:

  • An international student who wishes to work in China during his/her studies must be at least 18 years old.
  • Students pursuing a diploma (3-year program), bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree may work while studying in China.

However, international students can only work after 1 year in China. They are not allowed to start working before they have lived in China for 1 year. I think this is because the Chinese government wants students to acclimatize to Chinese culture and language first to avoid complications.

Students are allowed to work 8 hours a week and 40 hours a month while studying in China, both on and off-campus.

During the summer and winter holidays, working hours increase to 16 hours per week and 80 hours per month.

  • Students are not allowed to take part in toxic, hazardous, or dangerous work.
  • Students must have insurance covering both work and study subjects.

If a student works on campus, the work must be limited to teaching assistant, research assistant, administrative assistant, and school community service. In addition, the work must not coincide with normal school hours.

A student taking up employment must have a valid residence permit, which must be valid for at least 6 months.

The student should have no previous criminal record and must comply with the rules and regulations of the college/university where he/she is studying as well as Chinese law.

In order to start working, the student must have a good academic record and attendance must meet the requirements of the college/university where the student is pursuing his/her education, as the student’s main objective must be to study and work must not be the student’s main objective.

The student must obtain written permission from the college/university where he/she is studying before starting work.

It is compulsory for a foreign student to sign a contract with the company where he/she starts work, clearly stating the terms and conditions of employment and the hourly/monthly wage/salary. Once signed, a copy of this contract must be given to the college/university where the student is studying so that it can be registered. At the same time, the student must submit a unilateral letter of undertaking in which he/she undertakes to assume the risks and other aspects himself/herself, and the college/consultant accepts no liability in the event of an accident.

International students engaged in off-campus work-study must have a contract letter, a letter of confirmation from the college/university, and relevant materials. He/she must apply within 10 days to the Entry-Exit Office of the Public Security Bureau in the city where his/her college/university is located, in accordance with the relevant regulations on residence permits and work units, time limits, and other information related to study work. If an overseas student studying in China does not have work-study information on his/her residence permit, the student will not be allowed to work off-campus, and if he/she is caught working off-campus without work-study information on his/her residence permit, he/she will be punished in accordance with the law.

If an international student changes his/her off-campus work and study time, he/she must first inform his/her college/university and go to the Entry-Exit Department of the Public Security Bureau within 10 days with a new contract and a letter of confirmation from the college/university to update the residence permit with additional information.

If the foreign student stops his/her extra-curricular work outside the university because the employer has terminated the contract or for other reasons, he/she must submit a written report to the school within 10 days and apply for a change of annotation information at the local Public Security Bureau Entry-Exit Office.

The geographical scope of the work placement is limited to the administrative area of the county municipality in which the college/university where the international student is studying is located. The period of each work placement application may not exceed the validity of the study residence permit and may not exceed one year.

The college/university reserves the right to withdraw the international student’s work permit at any time without prior notice if it deems it necessary.

If the international student is found to have engaged in illegal work/activities or to have worked longer than permitted, he/she will be investigated and the consequences will be borne by the international student in accordance with Chinese law.

The education administrative department at each provincial level, together with the local public security bureau, immigration administration, human resources, and social security departments, shall coordinate and supervise the international student work-study activities in their administrative region, guide the colleges/universities in their administrative region to formulate and improve the implementation of the international student work-study regulations, taking into account the actual conditions of the college/university and local area, and implement dynamic management of the international student work-study places in accordance with the relevant local regulations.

After presenting all the above rules and regulations on international students’ work while studying in China, the next question that may arise in students’ minds is:

What kind of work can an international student do while studying in China?

Generally, foreign students can do the following jobs in China:

International students can work in China while studying, teaching English, or other foreign languages such as French, German, Arabic, etc. This part-time job offers good pay and is also a respectable job.

Another good option for international students to choose as a part-time job is modeling. Usually, different brands can hire foreigners to work as models and this is another effective way for international students to earn money during their studies.

The translator is another good part-time job, where an international student can offer his/her skills to translate Chinese into another language such as English, French, German, Arabic, Spanish, Russian etc. in his/her spare time.

Another option for an international student who has chosen to study in China is to work as a research assistant at their home university. This would be the best choice for an international student to work in China because by being at the university and working for the professor to help him/her with his/her research, you will add to your skills, you can help the professor with publications which will also add to your profile, and to add to the top, you get paid for this work.

Another great option is to work as a student assistant at your university, where you help both your university’s international affairs office and the international students studying at your university, and you get paid by the University for this Help.


In conclusion, MBBS in China and studying in China, in general, is a great choice. Today, China has become a land of opportunity, which invites international students to come to great Chinese universities and take advantage of scholarships in China and opportunities in China. So stop thinking and apply for China studies and MBBS in China with the help of Intime Study Advisors. We wish you best of luck for your future!

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