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Chinese visa: UK medical check vs commitment letter?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by edmundstavros, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. edmundstavros

    edmundstavros New commenter


    We are at the beginning of the visa process for our move to China in August, and have a question about the medical check.

    After looking into the foreign medical check form the school sent us, it became clear we would need to get it done privately, costing around £400 each. Our school has told us we can sign a 'health commitment letter' instead, but that if we fail the medical check in China... that's it. We would have to leave at our own expense.

    I was just wondering, has anybody heard of people failing? How strict are they regarding what passes and what fails?
    We are generally very healthy, never had any serious illnesses.

    We'd really like to not pay £800 for unnecessary tests that are going to be done in China anyway. If it's rare that people fail I'd say it's a gamble we'd be willing to take.

    It would be brilliant to hear from anyone with experience of this. Thanks in advance!
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Never known a new staff member fail the medical in 15 years! Unless you have an SDT, HIV, TB or traces of drugs in your system you should be fine.

    But you have to take the medical in China once you arrive anyway and to obtain the visa.
  3. edmundstavros

    edmundstavros New commenter

    That's reassuring, thanks!

    Yes we know we'll need to take the medical in China, which is part of the reason we want to avoid doing it twice and paying £400 for the privilege in the UK. Just wondered what the risk was, as we'd have to pay to fly home again if we were rejected (and be out of work).

    Sounds unlikely though, so thanks!
  4. Teachallover

    Teachallover Occasional commenter

    I felt exactly the same when I first wanted to move to China. I even had a medical check at my health clinic just to reassure myself. This cost nothing. Sign the health commitment letter and save a lot of time and money.
    edmundstavros likes this.
  5. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    8 years knew hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of staff who did the check and know of one who failed (they were actually pleased as it was some underlying condition they didn't know about - can't remember what though). Once it was sorted in UK they returned...i believe flights etc were at their own expense. But not certain.

    I'd say worth the risk.
    edmundstavros likes this.
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, I had a very detailed and exhaustive medical done in Qatar. Then, after our arrival in China, we had another one, with lots of X-rays and peeing into little plastic cups. Gan bei!
    edmundstavros likes this.
  7. jessbin

    jessbin New commenter

    Hi All. I am also moving to China with my husband in Aug and currently wading through the paperwork process. We have assumed that we HAVE to pay privately for all the tests, xrays and ecgs that the medical forms require. My school will refund any costs but it is still a lot of money to find for the both of us. Despite me asking about costs, they haven't mentioned anything about signing a health commitment form as an alternative to a full medical check here in the UK before having a full medical check again in China. Is this because some schools insist on the 2 medical checks or do you reckon if I ask them directly if there is an alternative, they might be more forthcoming? Just wondered if it is just my particular school being more strict?
  8. edmundstavros

    edmundstavros New commenter

    Our school didn't mention it either but I did some research and found out about the letter. When I asked our HR contact directly he said yes, a health commitment letter would work, but it is at our own risk (if we fail we wouldn't get flights home reimbursed etc). We've decided it's worth the risk! If it turns out we have tuberculosis I think the cost of flights home will be the last thing on our mind...

    If they're going to reimburse it I might be tempted to get it done in the UK, although I know it's a lot of cash up front. Our school told us to go to our local doctor who I know won't cover it, so signing the letter is the best option for us. If you'd rather not get the check here I recommend you ask them about the letter - they should know about it.
  9. mac_jenna

    mac_jenna New commenter


    I’m also in the process of doing this visa thing- and in somewhat of a rush to get it all sorted.
    I have read this thread and then mentioned the “health commitment letter” to the head teacher but she’s never heard of it. Have you or anyone else got a copy of this letter so she could send it to her HR? I seriously don’t want to pay £500 for tests that will all be redone. I know I’m fit and healthy!
  10. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I would follow the advice of your schools HR as they are the ones processing your visa and know what they have been told what they need from the visa application center. There is no definitive method of obtaining a work visa at the moment as each city is China seems to be reading the regulations in a different way!

    The school should be paying the cost of the medical
  11. jiveannie

    jiveannie New commenter

    Did anyone here use a health commitment letter - and what did it say?
    I'm trying to find out how to get the medical done just now so any advice welcome!
  12. cduffner3

    cduffner3 New commenter

    darn it - I was really considering China but I'm so terrified of blood tests that it took 5 nurses to hold me down last time (I seem to be taken over by aliens when they try this!) guess thats another country off the list then but I'm glad to have found this out now...
  13. NineInchSails

    NineInchSails New commenter

    Going to piggyback here: I've accepted a job in China but now they're telling me because my BMI is above 29 and because I take medication for blood pressure I will likely be denied a visa and insurance. I told them that I got a visa and insurance 4 years ago (when I was actually heavier). They've replied that the government has become much stricter since then, and also their insurance company is very strict. I don't want to go through the whole process, and spend all that money, to be denied. Any word on anything like this?
  14. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    There are lots of countries that will require medical tests, HIV is one that springs to mind, and these require blood tests.

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