Before sending employees to China, it is crucial for companies to invest a significant amount of time in researching the country’s regulations. In early 2017, China introduced a new unified work permit system, which can affect businesses sending expatriates to work in the country.
Review these new updates regarding China work permits and immigration to ensure that your overseas expansion is successful.
Recent Ease of Visa Rules to Attract Foreign Talent
In 2016, more than 900,000 foreign expatriates were legally employed to work in the Chinese mainland. To boost the local economy, China is seeking to further attract talented foreign nationals. This will help the country power its tech sector and compete with Silicon Valley. And as of April 1, 2017, China has overhauled its system of work permits and its permanent residency regime.
Improved Online Work Permit Application Process
Under the old system, individuals submitted an application through two different government entities. The new streamlined process includes channeling all applications (now done via an online portal) through one government entity, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA). Previously, expat workers were classified as being eligible for an Employment Permit or an Expert Permit. Now, the SAFEA issues a single Foreigner’s Work Permit. Each Foreigner’s Work Permit card has a unique ID number that does not change regardless of permit renewal or change of employer.
New Points-Based System
Work permits are now classified under three categories (A, B, and C) based on a points system, which is highlight in the chart below. The new system considers educational background, work experience, remuneration, Chinese language fluency, age, and tenure. The score is evaluated and credited by the Labor Bureau.
|Categories||Required Qualifications||Control and Ease of Application||Duration of Work Permit|
|A (above 85 points)||Highly-qualified top talent|
(e.g., expats with internationally recognized awards, leaders in science and technology industries, successful entrepreneurs)
|No limitations; highly encouraged||2 to 5 years|
|B (60 to 85 points)||Professional talent|
(e.g., those with bachelor’s degrees or higher, and two years’ relevant work experience)
|Some general control in line with market demand||1 to 2 years|
|C (below 60 points)||Normal unskilled, non-technical or service worker hired on temporal/seasonal basis||Strictly limited quota||Up to 1 year|
General Application Procedures
Each company in China that wants to employ a foreigner must first register with SAFEA and apply online for the Foreigner’s Work Permit (FWP). This process also requires uploading all relevant documents for pre-assessment, which includes legalized copies of Police Clearance Certificate and the highest degree attained.
Once the Labor Bureau determines that the files are qualified, a company would submit hard copies on-site. With the approved FWP Notice, the employee can apply for the Z visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate to enter the country. The candidate must also pass a medical examination.
Once in China, the FWP Notice, along with the employment contract and other documents are then submitted to apply for the Employment Certificate for Foreigners. This final piece required for the resident permit is issued by the Ministry of Public Security.
In all, the above process takes about ten to twelve weeks. Candidates under Category A require less documentation and are usually approved faster, which can be up to half of the standard time mentioned above.
Compliantly Expand Your Workforce in China
To reduce complications surrounding immigration and visas around the world, companies can rely on Velocity Global’s premier Global Immigration Solutions. Contact our team today to learn more about how this solution can help simplify the immigration process.