Shanghai expats have jobs and opportunities on a silver platter

By Sabrina Samra Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/11 18:43:39

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

It's no surprise that there are an array of opportunities for foreigners in Shanghai. There is something attracting us to this city.

Expat Focus reported that "Shanghai has become the first choice of foreigners who wish to work in China." Harry Dove, in his LinkedIn article, corroborates this, stating Shanghai "offers a range of business perks and an attractive lifestyle, it is difficult not to be enchanted by the Paris of the East."

People in general are often lured by money, so it would be foolish not to state that, due to economic reasons, foreigners are drawn to work in Shanghai. It is commonly known that foreigners here tend to earn considerably more than locals.

A 2014 Expat Explorer report issued by HSBC Bank International Limited found that "China has emerged as a hot spot for high earners, with almost one quarter of expats living there raking in more than 190, 000 pounds annually."

Dove commented in regards to this that "one of the most alluring aspects of Shanghai is that it is the perfect starting point for exploring Asia."

I too began my travels of Asia by working and living in Shanghai. While living here I have managed to travel to several parts of the world and also within the Chinese mainland. This is because I am able to earn, save and travel with ease here.

This is further enhanced by social factors that provide for a luxurious yet low-cost lifestyle. In Shanghai there are many international restaurants, bars and clubs for expats.

Every single day there are Lady's Nights at different, spectacular venues providing free drinks to those of us gals who enjoy imbibing world-class cocktails or stellar craft beer.

More specifically for foreigners, there are advertisements for various opportunities specifically aimed at us.

For example, last year I ran a half-marathon in Sichuan Province; I had seen the ad in a local WeChat group. All expenses were paid for my trip, but it was only for foreigners as part of a campaign to make Sichuan seem more international.

Opportunities based strictly on our appearance are abundant. Looks and ethnicity can also get us roles in film, media, modeling or just sitting around a corporate boardroom as the "token foreigner" in order to impress unsuspecting Chinese clients.

Smart Intern explained that foreigners can earn money by being the public face of a Chinese company - an opportunity not available anywhere else in the world!

I think it is important to appreciate the historical backdrop of all these unique opportunities. China's history has been predominately closed off from the world until recent years. Thus we can see why we foreigners are now being used to the Chinese advantage.

Compared to Europe, the UK and the US, foreigners in Shanghai and other parts of China are largely accepted. We are not treated as immigrants or refugees.

Contrastingly, I spoke to a friend who admitted that, as a Turkish native, he has struggled to gain any professional work in the US, as he is viewed by white Americans as a lowly immigrant.

The Chinese government has demonstrated time and again its warmth toward foreigners.

That's Shanghai magazine wrote that "on January 6, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education and Human Resources and Social Security jointly announced that foreigners who have completed master's programs within the last year can now obtain a Z Visa within the Chinese mainland without prior postgraduate work."

Perhaps some elements of inequality do exist; it is fair to say that we are in some ways treated better than the locals.

Earlier this year there was a bit of a scandal at Beijing's Tsinghua University after they made it easier for foreigners to get in.

Though foreigners in China tend to face some culture shock, language barriers and unfamiliarity upon their arrival here, Shanghai's tightknit expat community, international vibe and thrilling nightlife are great incentives to leave behind the Western world and start over again in China.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.


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