Interview questions & how to answer them.
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1. What is your company name?
Make sure you know your company name in English and in Chinese.
2. What does your company do?
Make sure you can describe what kind of business you are doing or want to do in China (or in that specific location in China, e.g. Shanghai, Songjiang) in simple terms. It’s recommended that you prepare a 1-2 page business plan, with visual elements (if this is your first interview), show the print outs of your website, taobao store, WeChat store, business cards, etc. – anything that shows what your company does.
3. Where are you from?
Simply tell your country of citizenship.
4. Do you know Chinese?
Although it’s not mandatory to know Chinese to open a company and do business in China, it is highly recommended you learn some basic Chinese, enough to hold a conversation about yourself, your business, and company. If you don’t know any Chinese, ask the visa officer if you can use English instead – do not demand.
5. Where do you live?
It is required that you bring your tenancy agreement to the visa interview. Tenancy agreement should not be from another city in China, it has to be from the same city where you’re applying for visa, for e.g. if the interview is taking place in Shanghai, your tenancy agreement must be from Shanghai too. Another important thing is to bring your temporary police registration to the visa interview. Temporary police registration should also be from the same city and same neighborhood where your tenancy agreement is from. For e.g. if you live in Lincoln Park, Songjiang district, Shanghai, then your police registration must come from the police station near Lincoln Park, Songjiang district, Shanghai.
6. How much income has your company made?
Know exactly how much your company has made this year, don’t go to the interview not knowing these figures. If your company is new and hasn’t made any sales yet, please bring a few contracts with your clients and suppliers, and mention that your company is new. If you’ve made any sales, please bring your company’s bank statements, invoices, fapiaos (ask your accountant to give you the copies) to the interview, and show them one by one and explain to the visa officer. Generally speaking, visa officers expect that your company starts making enough income for you to live in the city / region from which you are applying for visa, for e.g. if you are applying from Songjiang district, and you have a family with you, your company must be making enough income to sustain yourself and your family members (if your family members do not work and do not bring any income) in Songjiang, Shanghai. If the company is new, mention that, but the visa officers will still expect your company to start making enough income as soon as possible, so that you can show some proof when you go for visa extension next time.
7. Why do you want to do business in China?
Please explain why exactly you want to do business in China (China might be replaced by city or district name too, for e.g. Why Shanghai? Why Pudong? etc.), be specific, prepare some key points and talk about. if you have experience doing business in or with China, mention that too. If you have any relationship with local companies or factories or businesses, please talk about them, show your contracts etc.
8. Where is your office?
All the visa sponsoring companies in China must have their physical office space. There is no way around it. If you get asked this question, please show your office rent agreement. Visa officer will send their people to go and check your office – they usually go unannounced, if they don’t find your company in the office address you showed them, your visa application might
get affected. Please speak to your office receptionist, mention that the visa officers might give a visit – the receptionist should be able to show your company’s room / desk.
9. How long will you stay in China?
Please prepare a general answer, based on your business plan. The point of this question is to see if you have any business goals, plans etc. Obviously, if you don’t have any, your visa application will get affected. For e.g. if you say that you don’t have any plans yet or do not know how long you will stay, or that you might leave after a few months, your work visa application will be affected, and you might get a short visa too. It is recommended that you prepare some timeframe and explain why.
10. Where do you work?
This is a tricky question. By law, you can only work for the company which sponsors your work visa in China. You cannot work for other companies in any form, not full time, not part-time, not from distance. You can only work for the same company which gives you work visa in China. Period. Therefore, if you get this question, the only correct answer is: “I work for XXXX” replace XXXX with the company, which is sponsoring your work visa.
11. Do you work for any other companies?
Please read the comments on question #10 above.
12. Do you teach in China?
(Instead of “China” they might use other cities, districts where you are applying for work visa). – It is illegal to teach in China without having work visa, sponsored by the teaching institution, education center, university etc. – companies which sponsor their teachers’ work visas to work for them only, i.e. you cannot teach with the work visa you get from another company (including your own company). If your company is a training center, and it sponsors your work visa, you can only teach at your company, you cannot be working for other teaching companies / universities etc. it will be illegal. So, the answer to this questions depends on the type of company which is sponsoring your work visa. If this company is a training center, teaching institution, university etc. (you might as well own the company), then you should say yes, because in fact your are a teacher / instructor and you are applying for work visa sponsored by this teaching company. However, if the company which is sponsoring your work visa is NOT a teaching company, then the answer to the question should be “no”, because it is illegal to teach in this scenario. Instead, you should go ahead and explain your job / position / business for which you are applying for work visa.
13. Have you taught in China before?
Please read the comments on question #12 above. If you have – legally, then answer the question accordingly. If you have not – legally, then simply say “no”.
14. Have you worked in China before?
Please read the comments on question #12 above. if you have – legally, then answer the question accordingly. If you have not – legally, then simply say “no”.
15. How much tax has your company paid?
Please bring the print outs of tax payments to the interview. Your accountant in China should be able to provide this. And, know your numbers, be ready to answer the questions related to tax. This matter is very important, and as a company owner, if you don’t know how much tax your company is paying or has paid, it might affect the visa application. Generally, this question is not asked to new company owners (for e.g. the company was registered a few weeks or 1 month ago), but if they ask, simply say that your company is still new and will start paying taxes after you’ve made sales.
16. Will you live in X or somewhere else?
(X = the city / district you are applying for visa from) The answer to this question depends on your business, but generally speaking, you should maintain a residence in the city from which you are applying for visa. For e.g. if it’s in Shanghai, and your work / business requires you to travel around China constantly, you can mention that you will be living in Shanghai mostly, but will travel around China due to your business. Because this is not very exact when, where and for how long you will travel, it is recommended that you just answer the question in a simple way, and avoid including too much inexact details, because it will create more questions and eventually might affect your work visa application.
17. Do you have business experience?
Generally, you might get asked this questions if you are applying for work visa sponsored by your own company for the first time. Obviously, if you have previous business experience, it might affect your work visa application positively, so be prepared to speak about your previous business experience. If you don’t have any business experience, be prepared to answer additional questions like “How are you going to run this company?” or “How will you do business, if you don’t have any experience” etc.
18. How many people work in your company?
If it’s a new company, know how many peoples’ visas it’s sponsoring, and be ready to talk about the finances of the company, i.e. how will the company pay X salaries to X number of employees etc. If the company is already running, talk about the employees, how many are they, and who are they etc. As a company owner you should be able to answer salary related questions in any case – old or new company. You can expect questions like: How does your company sustain X number of employees? How do you pay their salaries? Where do they work from? Do they sit in the same office? etc.
19. Do you use your home as an office?
Legally speaking, residential buildings cannot be used office space in China, when the company is sponsoring a work visa. There are special buildings, though, which can be used for both residential and office purposes, but it has to be checked with the landlord first and made sure that it’s 100% true. Otherwise, it’s not allowed to use apartments for office purposes. We highly recommend our clients to rent an office space from a commercial building, sign a formal agreement with the landlord, and when asked this question, show the office rent agreement to the visa officers and tell where the office is located.
20. How much is your salary?
if your company is already running, please know exactly how much your salary is, based on your labour agreement. Show your pay slips, personal tax records etc. If your company is new, be prepared to answer how much salary you will pay to yourself – show your labour contract. Labour contract is a mandatory element for the work visa interview. if you don’t have one, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +8613040688804 and let us assist you to draft one in Chinese.
GENERAL WORK VISA INTERVIEW TIPS:
1. Know exactly what kind of business you will be doing or are doing in China;
2. Be able to answer anything related to your business – bring your business plan, business cards, office pictures etc. -anything that proves that you are serious about your business;
3. Bring your contacts, invoices, fapiaos, company bank statements, pay slips, tax records, company documents, stamps, and related other documents;
4. Be ready to anwer any questions related to your background;
5. Remember, your work visa lets you work for the sponsoring company only! – you cannot work for any other company;
6. Smile, be positive, answer to all the questions using simple and to the point words and phrases.
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