Beijing - Post Report Question and Answers

What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

For EFMs, jobs at the embassy are probably the best option. Some people have remote jobs. - Nov 2021

No work agreement with China so spouses can't work on the economy. Work opportunities in the Embassy can be limited. - Nov 2020

EFM employment is technically limited to the Embassy, as the US and China do not have a bilateral work agreement. However, a number of EFMs have successfully started small side businesses off the books, or have taught at local schools without any issues. - Aug 2020

Challenges with security, connectivity, and so much more for spouses. - May 2020

US Embassy spouses are not allowed to work on volunteer on the local economy. - Nov 2019

It is not easy to work on the local market if you are here on a diplomatic passport. - Oct 2017

Maybe? You'd be working illegally in all likelihood—I don't know anybody with a job on the local economy who isn't here on a tourist visa. Occasionally there are crackdowns. - Dec 2015

I don't think so. However, there are many job postings at the U.S. Embassy for EFM's. - Aug 2014

There is no bilateral work agreement between the Chinese government and the US. That means, you cannot work on the economy even if there are jobs available. The embassy does hire a lot of EFMs though and I think that if you want to work, you probably can. Just perhaps not in the capacity you would in another place. - Jul 2014

Haven't explored it - Jun 2013

No. - Aug 2011

There are lots of jobs, but at local pay. Ever thought of being a model? You could be one here, and see your picture on the front of thousands of boxes of some product exported all over the world. Chinese companies always have a need for someone to provide English customer service. Or maybe you just want to wear a nice suit and go to a formal dinner where you have no idea what's going on, but you smile and nod and shake hands and enjoy the very high-end cuisine, and get paid for showing up (some companies just need to have a white guy somewhere for whatever reason). Have a nice voice? Why not try making voice-overs? And of course you can teach English, anything from teaching adorable first graders how to say their names to helping Chinese businessmen improve their conversational English. Now let's talk about the pay. The average salary in Beijing is $600 per month. If you aren't working for a multinational company or an embassy, the most you can hope to pull in is about $2,000 per month. - Jan 2011

No. Some people find work as substitute teachers, but most spouses don't even bother to look. There are usually a few good jobs to be had at the embassy - WAE, professional associates and others. - Apr 2010

Not really. You need a full Z visa to work legally here and the employer gets that for you. Foreigners are guest workers and not expected to stay here. There are age restrictions also for people over 60. - Jan 2010


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