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Employers Call for Changes in Foreign Student Employment Regulations
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Chinese employers and officials are calling for changes to the country's employment and residency laws to allow foreign students from working in the country.



The calls follow a recruitment fair for foreign students in Beijing, where 160 openings were offered in the finance, education, medicine, information technology and media sectors.


The demands from both employers and employees are challenging existing regulations that ban foreign students from part-time work in China, and grant a working visa only after a foreign graduate has gained work experience in his home country.


"We're calling for amendments to the old regulations as well as references pertaining to the foreign employees' income levels and compensation packages," said Lin Fan, an official in charge of foreign students' services at Beijing higher education society.


The weekend fair was attended by 51 employers including Hong Kong University and PepsiCo. and received more than 400 foreign job-seekers, said Li Xiaohong, business development manageress of China International Enterprises Cooperative Co., the organizer.


"By staging the fair, we aim to build a bridge between foreign students who wish to work in China and companies in need of international professionals," said Li.


The Sunday event coincided with the Chinese language proficiency test (HSK), she said. "Many students visited the fair after the test."


Sohu, a leading Chinese portal website, was looking for multilingual professionals for its coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games. A manager of Sohu's sports page said they would be expected to put Chinese stories into English, French, Spanish and Arabic.


The company had reached intent with four Arab students at Sunday's fair, he said without giving details. "It wouldn't be easy to find these professionals otherwise."


A student from the Republic of Korea (ROK) said he decided to work in China even though his home country also needed Chinese-proficient professionals. "I feel China offers more and better opportunities," said the young man, whose Chinese name is Xu Zaifan.


Beijing's education authority said about 40,000 foreign students are studying in the Chinese capital. Most of those who intended to stay said they wanted to work for foreign companies, particularly the China branches of the big-name companies from their home country.


Last year, 140,000 foreign students were studying at around 500 nationwide colleges and universities that open to foreigners.


The average salary expectation of Japanese and ROK students is between US$800 and US$1,000 a month, while students from other parts of Asia demand US$600, according to a survey by Beijing Morning Post.



(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2006)

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