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July 6, 2012

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Expat without work permit loses lawsuit

LOCAL judges are warning expats in Shanghai to get legal work permits or they may be fired without any compensation from their companies.

A Danish expat who was fired for failing to get a work permit has lost the suit he filed to demand 19,000 yuan (US$2,989) compensation from a local company, the Jing'an District People's Court said yesterday.

Dan Hansen said he signed a job offer for the position of dining director of a local dining management company on June 29 last year.

According to the job offer, Hansen's monthly salary was 35,000 yuan and there was a three-month probation period during which both sides could terminate the contract after one had informed the other two weeks in advance.

Hansen said the company sent him to work for Enoterra, a wine bar, lounge and boutique in Shanghai, on July 5 and fired him on July 11 without any notice.

On December 7, Hansen took the dispute to the city's arbitration commission for labor and personnel.

The city's arbitration commission refused to accept the dispute, saying that Hansen didn't have a legal work permit when he was working for the company.

Hansen then took the case to the court, alleging that the company didn't explain why he was fired and informed him of the decision orally and suddenly rather than two weeks in advance.

The company argued it fired Hansen because it couldn't get a work permit for the expat, who failed to provide either a work permit transfer certificate for his last job or a certificate to prove his work permit had been canceled. The company refused to pay, saying the job offer provided no compensation for breach of contract.

Enoterra, which attended the hearing as a third party, said Hansen was a temporary staffer and it had already paid him for seven workdays.

The court said Hansen had no evidence to prove the Shanghai company had violated the contract and fired him orally. It then ruled the expat lost the suit.

China's national legislature passed a strengthened law on June 30 that targets foreigners illegally working or living in China.

The law approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee now requires foreigners to obtain valid documents to work in China. It also includes for more stringent punishment.


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