In order to legally work in China with a valid Work Visa (Z-Visa) you need to submit a number of documents to the organisation that hires you. Of these documents is a required medical check. Your employer will email you the necessary form. You can also find it here.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the form is very detailed and asks for a lot of information. The second thing you’ll notice is all the mixed information online about how to go about filling it in. This post exists to both dispel and confirm your concerns.
There is a range of guidance out there; some saying that the form can be completed by a GP whilst the rest stating the need to pay a great deal of money to have it done privately. The truth is that there is no one straightforward experience. Getting the form completed depends a great deal on your location and personal circumstances. Below are two very real case study examples of two of my friends.
Case Study 1: A friend got her medical check done via the GP.
She had had the same GP for many years and went often enough. When she took her GP the form the GP admitted never having seen it before and stated that because this is not NHS work she would charge my friend £20. My friend accepted and the GP took a closer look at the form. She filled it out based on what she knew from records within 5 minutes. She took my friends blood pressure, height and weight there and did a general check of things. It was so quick that the GP didn’t even charge her and printed out the test results that my friend already had. Signed and stamped no problem.
I think she was lucky.
She later went to her optician (She had had an eye test done very recently) and they printed out some results and added some detail on the form too.
She sent off what she had and despite no X-Ray scan and so on (the GP wrote ‘normal’ for everything that was clearly normal) her employer didn’t question it and began processing her documents to get the invitation letter.
Case Study 2: A friend paid to have his medical check done privately.
My friend had moved house and needed to register with a GP. He had never really visited his old GP as he was a picture of health. The registration took time but once it was done he did what our mutual friend had done and went off with the form. After many delays he was told in no uncertain terms that the GP knew nothing about it and refused to complete it. All the GPs at that surgery said the same thing. Having waited so long to be registered and with time running out (these things are time sensitive as you’re usually rushing for the start of a semester) he felt he had no choice but to get it done privately.
He lived in an area where nearby private clinics either didn’t know about the Chinese Medical Check or charged over £500 for one. So off to London he went and had it all done. The scans, the tests and so on. He came away 2 hours later with photocopies, stamped forms and was £400 poorer.
He wasn’t happy.
It’s possible that the GP records that existed for my first friend and the relationship with the GP made things easier. It’s possible that that relationship didn’t matter and it depended on what the GP was willing to do.
It could also depend on what your definition of legit is. I’ve heard the argument that my first friend should have paid for a ‘real’ medical check.
The Chinese rules state that the form must be completed at a hospital by a doctor. The thing to bear in mind is that China has no concept of a family doctor or GP. In China, if you feel ill, you go to the hospital. Even for minor things. So a GP is a sufficient equivalent.
As for possible dishonesty regarding the medical check itself. The form is a tick box to get the Invitation Letter. It expires within six months of its original issue (the date the GP/doctor signed it) and you have to repeat the medical examination in a Chinese hospital within a certain number of days of your arrival in China anyway. The difference is that your employer pays for this medical check.
The process of getting all your documents for China as well as your visa is expensive enough and not all employers cover the various costs. Many schools might pay for the visa itself but universities tend not to.
Ultimately, this is about getting things sorted. The NHS is very unlikely to send you off for an EKG if you’re a perfectly healthy 24 year old. A GP may sort the document out for you and your employer will accept it. Or you’ll have to fork out lots of cash to get it done privately, only to go through it again once your there. Just because your GP felt unsure.
It’s not really a matter of choice, it’s a matter of luck.
Have you had a Chinese Medical Form filled? How did you go about it? Share your advice in the comments below.