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All You Need to Know about China’s New Foreign Work Permit

Foreign Work Permit (外国人工作许可证), is a combination of Alien Employment Permit (Z-Visa) and Foreign Expat Certificate (R-Visa). In other words, foreign applicants only need to apply for a Foreign Work Permit to be legally employed in China.

This new pilot program introduced in November 2016 and will become available nationwide by April 1st, 2017.

Any foreigner currently holding a regular work permit and a residence permit are expected to renew their permits for the new Foreign Work Permit. Also, this new permit is only valid for one year and will require each foreign employee to renew the permit every year.


When You are Applying for the New Foreign Work Permit

  1. You will need to make sure that the company you will be working with has completed  Real Name Registration. The hiring companies must register all relevant information to Labor Bureau’s management system.
  2. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) and the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) will work closely together, however, it is expected that SAFEA will contribute the most in generating this new pilot program.
  3. Current work permit holders who obtained their permit before 1st November 2016 will be evaluated based on previous policy and permit renewals will not be affected by the new policy.
  4. Applicants must be between  18 years old and 60 years old. However, the 60 years old age limit is not applicable for Category A applicants.
  5. Applicants for this new work permit are expected to deliver legal paper such as clear criminal record, health/medical record and highest degree of education (verified by Chinese Embassies), while the requirements for CVs, reference letter and application letter may vary depends on the city where the application takes place.
  6. Applicants will be divided into 3 categories:
  • Category A – no quota limitation from the Chinese government and no upper age limit to apply for this permit.
    • Reach more than 85 points on the category system, or meet at least one of the requirements below:
    • Government selected and approved high talents
    • Meet the criteria to be considered as a young Innovative Entrepreneur
    • Meet international standards and show record of professional achievements
    • Meet government and market’s need for such high talent(s).
  • Category B – for Professional Personnel, where government plays a vital role to control quota based on Chinese market needs. Applicants not older than 60 years old and meet at least one of the requirements listed below:
    • Reach at least 60 to 85 points on the category system
    • A Bachelor Degree + 2 years working experience, holding a mid-level position in a company
    • A Master Degree with no working experience needed, to learn more please click New Visa Updates for Foreign Graduates in China
  • Category C – for Non-Technical/ Service Workers, the type of permit suitable for temporary/ seasonal employment such as house workers and interns who do not study in China. However, category C has a strict quota limitation and can be checked directly from Alien Employment Management Service System.
    • Government’s relationship with other foreign countries also plays a big role in setting the agreements and rules for this category.
  • If you are planning to move from one city to another, please be advised to apply for the new work permit within the validity of your current permit.



Method to calculate points on the category system

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Related Working Experience
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*Given 1 point for every extra year. e.g. 3 years of working experience will receive 6 points and 4 years of working experience will receive 7 points.


Annual Salary
Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 12.54.07 PM


Annual Working Time
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Language Proficiency
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Education/Professional Background
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Government from the different province will be given the virtue of granting applicants any extra points ranging from 1 – 10 points.


Passport and Visa

New Foreign Work Permit

Each successful applicant will be given a card and this card will replace Expert License and Alien Employment License. The card features information such as your name, sex, nationality, duration of validity, authority, permit category (either A, B or C), permanent ID number and QR Code. Please be aware that any early employment termination, a record of an employment dispute, applying to the job at a different city(ies) will impact severely on the application and has a higher chance for application to be declined.

The process of issuing the Foreign Work Permit will take around 5 days for Category A and up to 15 days on Category B and C. Please also be advised that for non-working permit holders (e.g. tourist visa holder, student visa holder etc.) applying for Category B and C, applicants are required to leave China and apply from his/her home country.

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