What Happens If You Work Illegally In China

Release time:2018-03-13

Dont let rumours convince you that its ok to work illegally in China. You need to abide by your visa. If youre caught by authorities, the consequences are not worth it.


If you intend to work in China, you must apply for a work permit. The requires may differ depending on what industry you plan on working in. 


What Counts as Illegal?


-    Working after your work permit has expired.

-    Providing fake information to obtain a work permit and/or work visa (for example, you are employed by company A, while getting your work permit under company B).

-    Overseas students working full time or beyond what their universitys or colleges work-study programs allow, or doing any business while studying at school.

-    Working when youre a foreign spouse holding a Q visa.




Foreigners who do anything unrelated to their visa type will be ordered to leave the country within a certain period (decided by the police) if they are considered unfit to remain in China. Serious violators will be deported.


Youll be fined a penalty between of between RMB5,000 to RMB20,000 by the police. In severe cases, you may be jailed for up to 15 days on top of your fine as well as face deportation.


The punishment will be decided based on how serious the violation is and whether it is intentional or unintentional. However, the law doesnt specify what circumstances are considered serious and intentional, and how to measure them, so ultimately this is based on the judgment of the police.


Will The Employer Be Punished?


A company caught illegally employing a foreigner will be fined between RMB10,00 to RMB100,000 as well as have any income determined illegal be confiscated. 


What Happens If Youre Caught?


Explain yourself as best as you can to the police. Remember, these are the people who will determine the severity of your offence, not your embassy or any other department bureau. In other words, be polite.


Working illegally can leave you with a bad record with Public Safety Bureau, China Customs, and the Chinese Embassy.  This record may affect you whenever you apply for a visa in the future. Worse yet, if you are ordered to leave you may be banned from working in China for up to two years. If you are deported, the law states that you will be blacklisted and not be able to return to China for 5-10 years.