New Foreigner Work Permit set to commence

Piloting in Shanghai on March 27, 2017, the new Unified Work Authorization Policy is subject to commence throughout China on April 1, 2017.

What should a company do?

Employers that need to sponsor foreign workers in Shanghai must be registered with the Shanghai Expert Bureau before March 27, 2017. Other Chinese cities are expected to implement the new policy for all application types in coming weeks. The new system is expected to process longer times, more complexities and require extra documentations for large numbers of Work Permit applications.

What are the new changes?

Previously, most foreign employees had to apply for a new work permit every year. Instead, under the new pilot program foreigners who have been employed in China for at least two consecutive years will be allowed to apply for a five-year work permit.

How does the new system work?

Under the new system, foreigners will be classified into 3 categories:

  • Category A: High-end foreign talents – scientists, international entrepreneurs and science and technology talents;
  • Category B: Foreign professionals – master graduate from top universities, bachelor graduate with 2 year working experience and foreign language teachers with 2 years full-time teaching experience. Teachers can only teach their native language.
  • Category C: Ordinary foreigners – engaged in assigned internship, seasonal, temporary, non-technical jobs.

 What is the new point system?

There are two ways to define class: Fixed standard and Points-based.

Fixed Standard rules many conditions for each class. For example, if you are a professional with international achievements and awards, you are assigned in class A. The foreign language teaching staff belongs to class B.

Points-based, according to the scoring items, if you get 85 points or above, you are assigned in class A. If the points are 60 or higher, you are assigned into class B. The scoring items include annual salary, education degree, Chinese level, age, working year, work place, etc.

What documents do I need?

The application process can take up to one month with all documents complete.

  • Health certificate
  • Certificate of no criminal conviction
  • Highest education academic certificate
  • Proof of two year work experience.
  • Employment contract

 How can foreign students work in China?

Foreign students studying in China with a student residence permit can continue to submit documentation from school and company to allow an internship. They will be authorized into specific categories and maximum allowances for stipends are allowable.

Foreign students graduating from Chinese university will be allowed to apply for a residence permit valid for two to five years. In this way it will be easier for them to gain a work experience or launch their own startups in China.

If you are an employer hiring foreigners in China, or if you have questions about the new work permit, please consult our experts on