To make the country's higher education system more attractive, the government of China will be allowing the foreign students at Chinese universities to grab part-time jobs in the country along with their studies.
As per a statement issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education, the government has been introducing a number of exploratory changes allowing international students in Beijing and Shanghai to take part-time jobs or internships off campus. But the condition is that they obtain approval from their academic institutions and the entry and exit administrative authorities.
China is looking at the rise of the foreign students as part of its diplomatic push to increase its global influence.
“It makes sense for the country to more broadly expand such innovative policies since it serves the strategy of reinvigorating China's workforce development,” said Wang Huiyao, Director of Beijing-based think-tank Centre for China and Globalization.
Back in 2015, Shanghai had implemented a pilot policy that enabled international students who had graduated from a Chinese university to accept internships or to start their own business in the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone for up to two years after graduation.
Then later, the city further eased the restriction and started to allow international students to start a business at the zone during their studies.
Further in 2016, the Ministry of Public Security had implemented new policies to allow foreign students recommended by their host universities in Beijing to take part-time jobs with companies in the city's Zhongguancun Science Park or become involved in entrepreneurship in the area, where they get an annotation of "entrepreneurship" added to their student visa.
Then last year in early 2017, the central government introduced a program for international students with postgraduate degrees or students who had attended "well-known" universities to obtain Chinese work permits after graduation.
Earlier the rules were different, the international students and those with degrees obtained overseas had to have a minimum of two years' work experience outside China before they could apply for a work visa.
While these changes to visa policies are not massive and are specifically targeted, they are positive signs that the government is considering opening up more opportunities for international students to undertake part-time work during their studies and have work opportunities upon graduation.
As visa policies will become more liberal, the benefits will be reaped by both the international students and China. For the students, it will be great to make most of the opportunity by working in a growing economy like China. And for China, it will result in enhanced global influence.