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Can International Students Do Part-time Jobs in China?

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When a student is looking for study opportunities in China, scholarship is an important factor to be considered. It can not only prove your academic achievements in your last study period, but it is also a relief for the economic burden during the study-in-China. If student is not admitted with scholarship and finds it difficult to cover the living expenses during studying in Chinese university, doing part-time jobs can be a good choice, while for international students, doing part-time jobs have several rules and restrictions which need to be taken really seriously. This article will introduce some features about international students doing part-time jobs in China.

Part-time jobs during study are allowed for international students in China. Part-time jobs can provide international students opportunities to improve their Chinese language skills, gain work experience, build social and professional networks, and earn some income. The experience can boost their résumés and career prospects upon graduation. However, Income from part-time jobs may be subject to individual income tax in China, though students usually fall under the tax exemption threshold. Tax policies can change, so students need to stay up to date.

The only legal part-time jobs international students can do are on-campus jobs arranged by their university or approved by the Chinese government. These usually include teaching or tutoring, student mentorship roles, research or administrative assistance, etc. Working off-campus jobs without permission is illegal for international students and can result in penalties or deportation. The Chinese government strictly controls immigrants working in China, thus when choosing a part-time job, you should carefully evaluate whether it is legal and observing the rules and regulations of doing part-time jobs in China.

To work legally in China, international students need to obtain a work permit from the local Public Security Bureau. But most part-time jobs arranged by universities do not require a separate work permit. According to Chinese law, part-time jobs for international students are limited to no more than 24 hours per week while school is in session. During university holidays, students can work up to 40 hours per week. This ensures studies remain the priority. Though doing part-time jobs can greatly reduce the pressure of living expenses, students should be aware that the priority for students is studying. The working times should not interrupt the period of studying in campus to make sure you will smoothly graduate from school.

Another important thing is that the hourly wages for part-time jobs arranged by universities must meet China’s minimum wage standards. Students should make sure they are paid fairly according to their contract. Exploitative or unpaid internships are illegal. If you found that the payment for you is not corresponding with the contract, you should report this situation immediately.

Here are some common part-time jobs international students may choose in China.

• Teaching assistant roles – Assisting Chinese professors with grading assignments, answering students’ questions, explaining difficult concepts, proctoring exams, etc. This can give international students experience in teaching and education.


• Language tutor roles – Tutoring Chinese students in their native language, typically English. Private language institutions and companies also hire foreign students to tutor Chinese kids online. This is a good way to practice teaching and improve communication skills.

• Research assistant roles – Helping Chinese professors and researchers with organizing literature, compiling data, conducting interviews, transcribing recordings, etc. This can provide exposure to research related work and academic environment.

• Student mentor roles – Mentoring and advising younger Chinese students on campus to assist their adaptation, cope with challenges, and integrate socially. This can develop mentoring, communication and interpersonal skills.

• Campus jobs – Working in the university cafeteria, library, dormitory or other departments. Though the work may be more routine, campus jobs provide convenient opportunities to earn income.

• Online tutoring or freelance work – Tutoring Chinese students online in their native language or other school subjects. International students can also offer freelance services like editing, writing, design, etc. However this requires proper work permits to be legal.

• Internships – While not technically part-time, internships during semester breaks provide valuable work experience, exposure to Chinese companies and organizations, and connections for future employment. Top internship domains include education, technology, consulting and marketing.

A variety of part-time jobs are available within universities for international students studying in China. Jobs involving education, research assistance, mentoring and campus work provide the best fit. Students should apply through official university channels and obtain proper permits to ensure their work is legal. Part-time jobs done responsibly can complement studies and make study abroad experience in China more rewarding. 

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