China Work Permits image

China work permit

China follows the international system and issues visas according to its laws and regulations which may be modified from time to time. If you want to legally work in Mainland China, you will need a work permit and a residence permit. Being acquainted with key information regarding this helps you avoid wasting time, money and making annoying mistakes. The complex structure of China’s new work visa system (since 2017) can make finding reliable information a challenge. Here we give you the main information and steps for obtaining a legal work permit and residence permit in China. We at Sperton are happy to consult you if you need assistance regarding the work permit.

Classification of Work Permits

Since 2017, China rolled out a new regulation that combined the old Alien Employment Permit and the Old Foreign Expert Certificate into one and single work permit: the Foreigner’s Work Permit. The idea is to streamline the process for top-level talent and to identify, and possibly bar, low-level applicants from entering China to work. Under this new regulation foreigners seeking employment in Mainland will be categorized in 3 classes; A, B, or C depending on the qualification and the skills of each foreigner.

  • A = high-level experts.
  • B = professional workers.
  • C = low skilled workers.

Most foreigners fall under Class B and generally will be able to obtain a Work Permit. Talents in Class A can also be eligible for an R-type visa (Talent visa for highly skilled professionals valid up to 10 years). Class C workers are at higher risk of being rejected for a Work Permit. To determine the classification of a Work Permit, there are two methods: be directly qualified or reach enough points on the work permit points table.

Direct Qualification

Class A

  • High Incoming Earners with a salary of over 50,000 RMB / month + working in Shanghai.
  • International prize-winner in sciences, architecture, literary, arts, sports, music, industrial design.
  • Selected profile by the China National Talent Import Plan.
  • Doctor’s degree or higher from a Chinese University of from one of the World Top 500 Universities.
  • Allows for profiles above 60 years old.

Class B

  • Bachelor degree + 2 years of full-time related work experience after graduation.
  • “Excellent” graduate with a Master’s degree from a Chinese university from one of the World’s Top 100 Universities.
  • Limited to profiles between 18 and 60 years old.

Class C

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from a university in Shanghai + employed by a company registered in the Shanghai FTZ or Zhangjiang High Tech Park.
  • Master’s degree or higher from a Chinese university (with a score reaching at least 80/100 or B+/B) + employed by a company registered in Shanghai.
  • Limited to profiles between 18 and 60 years old.

Qualification based on work permit point system

  • Class A = score over 85 points.
  • Class B = score over 60 points.
  • Class C referring to very specific low-skilled profiles, only junior profiles that match a direct qualification can work with a Class C work permit.

Foreigners who cannot reach a score minimum of 60 points will not be granted work permits through the point system.

Requirements for The Company

Employers who are interested in hiring foreigners to work in China must comply with local laws and regulations regarding the hiring of foreign staff. They must have a legal entity registered in China and the appropriate certifications from the local government. The skills and experience of the foreigner must be relevant to the employer’s business in China, and the employer must show sufficient financial assets to be able to support the salary and tax of hiring foreign staff.

Requirements for The Employee

Employees must meet basic requirements in order to qualify for a work permit based on the categories mentioned above. General requirements include:

  • Be at least 18 years old and in good health.
  • Not have a criminal record.
  • Have a specified employer.
  • Have the requisite skills and work experience to fill the employer’s vacancy.
  • Have a valid passport and any other required travel documents.

Blog Posts, Global Mobility