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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Who can do an internship in China and who can not?


A:   Internship activities are considered by authorities here as part of college study so only current students (UG or PG) may apply to undertake an internship in China. However, China government has released new rules in early 2017 allowing recent graduates from selected universities (in China or overseas) to enter or stay with a private visa with which one can engage in internship, business start-up or finding employment. People entering China with a tourist or business visa can NOT do internship and will risk being randomly checked. Once found, heavy punishment (on both the intern and the host side) may apply.


Q: What do you mean by ‘Professional Internship’?


A:   Unlike travel or site-visit based internship, professional internship means students undertake internships in actual business environment and industry settings and are given tasks that are relevant to what they are studying. This in fact is also the requirements of the ’Internship Visa'. Relevant documentations on your internship plan are required upon filing for such visa application. This is also why, for most of the internships, you can apply for university credits.


Q: Why do I have to pay an application fee to start? Is it refundable?

A: The professional internship placement requires a serious candidate to attend interview(s) with potential host(s) arranged by us. In many cases, internship positions are also competitive, and seats are limited at host thus multiple potentials must usually be identified and notified even before resume was received. Your program application fee assures us that you have genuine intention on traveling overseas to join the program and you want to proceed to the next phase of the process, namely, having our Internship Coordinator actively trying to place you. It is hard for us and host companies to justify spending time to evaluate resumes and conduct interviews with candidates who are not committed to joining them. Once your application fee is received, your place is then secured. If we are unable to find you a potential host or arrange any interviews, the fee will be refunded. In case of any medical or family emergency that prevents you from fulfilling the commitment of the program, we will hold the fees for not exceeding the period of six months.


Q:   How fast can you find me an internship? When shall I apply?

A:   Although it's not difficult for us to 'find' you an internship, reasonable time is still needed to ensure the 'best match' followed by the securing of the closest available accommodation. We strongly recommend you to apply at least 2 months before intended start date if applying from off-shore. The receipt of your application fee by us formally starts the countdown.


Q:   What other expenses shall I budget for?

A:   The all-inclusive package already covers your accommodation and insurance (for your duration of stay). You need to budget for your return flights, meals and travels etc.... Also, visa processing fee (when applicable) is not included either. Please view here what services and supports are included.


Q:   How may I pay the fees? Can I pay by installment?

A:   You are advised to pay the application fee via Paypal. The fee will be USD 500 plus the Paypal charge. The program fee is paid via bank transfer. Please view details here. We do not accept installment payment unless otherwise agreed on special circumstances.


Q:   What the accommodation looks like? Can I source my own accommodation?

A:    We arrange homestay, shared residential apartment and shared Serviced Apartment. Details and indicative price ranges can be found here. Unless your own source of accommodation is testified with positive experience we do not recommend you source your own. We want to make sure the place you stay is convenient, safe and costed reasonably, this in turn ensures your positive performance at host, which is our commitment and promise to our host partners.


Q:   Does your program include insurance?

A:   Yes, regardless what package you enroll with us. By working with prestigious insurance companies, we offer comprehensive travel & health insurance for every participant. Full policy details are available on request.


Q:   Why do your offerings not show company names and when can I know what company I maybe interning with?

A:   The names of many host companies do not appear in offer listing. Many host companies prefer to remain anonymous on our website since they do not accept resumes for foreign interns independently. Instead, they rely on Co-Aim and enjoy the fact that we assists them in screening candidates, assisting with visa and accommodations and securing airport pick-ups, providing orientations and trainings and all the other details that the HRs at host-companies prefer not to worry about – but the details that make for an successful experience.


Also, We often partner with new companies if they would be a better match for a participant. We have a dedicated outreach team handling company relationship management which means our list of partners is constantly growing and evolving. Not providing a list of companies is also to avoid the attempt of the intern to “pick and choose” which companies they specifically want to work for. This promotes unrealistic expectations, as partner company needs, your wishes and background and external factors such as timing are all taken into account during internship placement. If you are accepted into our program you are guaranteed a great role in your area of interest. However, due to the factors listed above a specific company cannot be guaranteed.


You will be informed about the host company options when we prepare you for the interviews after you are enrolled with our program by paying the initial Application Fee.


Q:   Will my internship be paid?


A:   Both paid and unpaid internships will be sourced although internship by nature (and by Chinese visa regulations) reflects unpaid activities. However, since internship visa holders are not Residence Permit holders which means there will be no bank account allowed to open for the intern, any payment can only be settled in cash as food / transportation allowance (the legal name). And that can not be seen as regular salary. (Salary is normally paid through TT to an employee bank account with tax file number).


Q:   How many hours a week will I work?


A:   You are expected to be a normal employee from a scheduling point of view and commit up to 5 days a week. Depending on the host and the nature of the job assigned, one can expect to intern at host from 24 (or 3 full days) to 40 (or 5 full days) hours in a week.


Q:   Do I need to speak Chinese? Can I learn any Chinese during my stay?

A:   Chinese proficiency is not compulsory for most of the internship openings except for such as accounting and some financial analysis roles etc. And yes, many schools in China offer Chinese language courses for foreigners, in which you can take at your spare time. We/You can also find a private tutor. We find the best way to learn Mandarin and the Chinese culture is to find a local Chinese colleague as a language exchange partner. Many Chinese people are eager to teach you Mandarin in exchange for your help in English. We do not recommend you to enroll for any Mandarin class before you have your internship confirmed when you will know the detailed address of your intern site, your living address and your internship schedule all of which help and decide what the best located language school should be chosen.


Q:   Can I ask for a reference letter upon completion of my internship?

A:   Certainly, the HR at our cooperating partner companies will arrange the reference letter. We will email or post it to you immediately after we receive it.


Q:   Can I apply for college credit for my internship?

A:   Yes you can and we will assist you on this process. Prior to confirming your internship, you are advised to approach your academic advisor to gain an understanding as to what the internship tasks should cover etc... although in most cases, quality internship placements we offer should already ensure it.   


Q:   Can my host offer me a job or can I find a job after the internship?

A:   No guarantee. Although we have had interns who were offered full-time employment upon completion of their internship, this would be entirely up to the host and your performance during your internship as well as whether you are qualified for the Chinese work permit. We do facilitate full-time employment beyond the internships including work permit and working visa handling for you for free.   

Q:   Can I work in China? What are the basics in terms of requirements?

  • The basic and routine requirements are that you have 1) a recognised university degree and; 2) more than 2 years full time working experience after graduation; the experience should be related to the job you are applying for; 3) no criminal record; 4) should be above 18 and under 60 years of age and in acceptable health condition.

  • For certain skill-based and/or encouraged professions, the academic and/or age limits can be flexible.

  • If you do not possess a recognised bachelor's degree or you do not have sufficient experience, it's still possible for you to apply for work permit now following the 'score based assessment' system. If the combination of your salary, educational background, Chinese language fluency, past experience, and length of service generates a satisfactory score, you can obtain a work permit. If the score is high enough, you can go directly to A class.

Q:   What if I am not immediately qualified for the Chinese work permit?


A:   It's now possible for people who do not meet the above-mentioned routine requirements to still come and work legally in China:

  • If you graduated from one of the selected universities, you can apply for work permit directly if you secure a job within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

  • Being employed by a company within the FTZ also means you earn extra points under the score system if your college is not listed;

  • If you graduated from universities in Shanghai, you will be able to obtain an entrepreneur visa with which you can engage in various types of activities including internship and starting a business or finding an employment. It is believed that more cities will adopt similar policies.

Q:   What influence does Chinese proficiency have on my career?


A:   Although expatriates still have unique competitiveness in China and some expatriate jobs in certain sectors do not have Chinese proficiency as prerequisite, it is clear that if you want to work in China with/for Chinese companies and take advantage to this rapid economic growth or build your career here, it's important to learn Chinese that is relevant and specific to your needs. You want to talk with your suppliers, held business meetings and do presentations in Chinese because that will make the difference with your clients and help boost your career. Not only will learning Chinese language grant you an advantage in China’s job market, it will also impress any hiring manager you are speaking with about a potential job. If you are the entrepreneurial type, this may be the most important reason for you to take your career to China. Learning morn Chinese will be your springboard into the next stage of your career.


Q:   Will there be a job description?


A:   Yes, normally our clients will outline a position and the conditions of employment. That outline includes name and location of the company, industry, working time, monthly salary, any additional benefits, medical care particulars, allowable holidays and other information.


Q:   What salary can I expect to earn? Can I live on my salary?


A:   The cost of living varies according to region and city. It is higher in the major or tier one cities than in other medium or smaller cities. It’s true, certain costs of living (i.e. housing) in the biggest cities of China are comparable to those in the world’s largest, most developed cities, such as New York City. The costs of nearly everything else (i.e. food, transportation, entertainment) is still far lower, even in these large cities. Normally, what a person earns in salary is sufficient to the needs and cost of living of the area/city. The foreign staff normally earns a higher salary than their Chinese staff counterparts. If prudent, you can save enough of your salary to travel during the vacation periods.


Q:   I am traveling in China but just found a job, can I convert my other visa into a working visa while I am in China?


A:   Not nationally applicable but yes it is possible and legal as long as the city you will be working in has had such policy; eg Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen etc......If you believe you are qualified and has secured an offer, you may enter with a L visa and convert that into working visa in Shanghai without going back to your home country. You should be able to complete the entire process within the duration of your visit/tourist visa or an extension can be granted.


Q:   Do I have to change my working visa if I change my employer?


A:   Yes you must. Your working visa (the combination of Work Permit and Working Residence Permit) is locked with your employer. You need to update / re-apply for a new work permit followed by new residence permit once you change your employer. You will need to change your work permit even you have your job title changed with the same employer.


Q:   Do I have to pay tax? What is the income tax in China and how is it calculated?


A:   Generally yes, the employment income derived from China is taxable which is calculated and deducted by the accounting department at your employer prior to the release of your monthly salary. Once you have been granted Work Permit and obtained your residence permit for working, you become a Tax Residence Individual of China.


China has a progressive tax system, so a progressively higher tax rate is applied based on how much you earn. There’s a quick deduction for each band built into the system, which means that for each band of taxation you get a different tax-free amount. Effectively you have to work out your earnings per month at that tax bracket, multiply it by the tax rate, and then take off the deduction to figure out how much tax you owe. The tax rate starts from 3% to 45% progressively.


Q:   What type of insurance and healthcare do I need during working in China?   What is the social benefit & insurance fund?


A:   There is a national social insurance system that each and every employee and employer have to contribute although in certain areas (such as Shanghai that has a legacy system which is believed to be soon merged into the general law scheme). The social insurance scheme covers 90% of the population on medical, injury, housing, unemployment and retirement. In most cases, the social insurance fee is calculated and deducted monthly by the accounting department at your employer prior to the release of the monthly salary. Besides this public system, expats can choose from various private insurances services available in the market which cover from medical, incidence to family and education etc...


Q:   Can I bring my families to China and live with me? Can my families work when they are in China?


A:   With a legal job and a legal residence permit you can usually obtain a resident's visa for your family. And yes, they can also work in China, but they have to apply for work permits meaning same work permit assessment criteria applies. They cannot work on a dependent visa or other types of family visa.


Q:   What shall I know in general about Chinese culture? Is cross-culture a difficult issue?


A:   Differences in workplace culture are experienced by expats in China on a daily basis. It can be something as trivial as taking a nap during the workday or something as serious as being forced into unpaid overtime. Instead of ignoring it or getting a total 'culture shock', or simply classify things as legal or illegal, it's important to realise and respect the local culture, in this way you are on the right track to understand what's behind and you are eventually be able to handle and enjoy it.


Q:   What are the supports & services can I expect from Co-Aim? How can I find 'everything I need to know but don't ask' about living and working in China?


A:   Right Here! www.co-aim.com is the VERY address you will need to find everything you want and need to know about working and living in China. A click on us will help you find a job and have your various questions answered. You can ask your own questions anytime and we will answer timely. We will guarantee fast and efficient service in getting your work permit and visa, and a thousand other things which you haven't even thought about --- the most important of which, is we will assist you along your way from the very first time you register with us.


Q:   Is there an opportunity to invest in China or get involved with an entrepreneur project?


A: Yes certainly. actually this is what the government is encouraging and trying to facilitating.

Starting from May 2018, foreign entrepreneurs and investors meeting certain requirements can apply for a new business startup visa piloted in select districts in Shanghai. This visa offers foreigners a chance to establish a new and innovative startup business within Shanghai. It is believed more cities / regions will follow.


Q:   What are the biggest obstacles for a foreigner to work or do business in China?


A:   This topic can be discussed forever and there seem to be a long list of issues expats are facing. We have tried to be simple and straight summarizing what we believe to be the biggest two which are embedded for most of the obstacles / puzzles / misunderstandings / miscommunications:

  • 1) Access to accurate information and/or reliable and professional consultation service;

  • 2) Language and the culture understanding;

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