China – Proposed Work Permit Scheme to be Implemented

In an announcement made by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs’ on September 9, 2016, the existing Expert Permit (R-visa) and Employment License (Z-visa) will be merged into a single permit.  Beginning October 1, the Work Permit pilot scheme will be tested in select regions, Anhui, Beijing, Guangdong, Hebei, Shandong, Shanghai, Sichuan and Tianjin Provinces and the Ning Xia Hui autonomous region, before it is implemented nationwide on April 1, 2017.

In an effort to streamline the application process, applications will soon be able to be submitted online.  Required documents such as resumes and application letters will no longer be required.  ID cards will be issued, assigning the foreign national with a unique ID number that will remain the same, regardless of renewals or change of employer.

A points system will be implemented for foreign nationals requesting a work permit.  Points will be awarded based on the foreign national’s income, work experience, educational background, age, duration of stay, location (higher points are awarded to work in less developed regions), and Chinese language proficiency.  The following categories are as follows:

  • Tier A – Highly qualified top talent
    • Points Required: 85+
    • Highly encouraged
    • Foreign nationals in this tier will benefit from fewer supporting documents
  • Tier B – Professional talent
    • Points Required: 60-85
    • Generally controlled
  • Tier C – Unskilled workers
    • Points Required: Below 60
    • Very limited

Foreign nationals currently working in China on the existing R-visa or Z-visa may continue to keep their work permit until its expiry or replace it with the new work permit.

The new points system is being implemented to better serve the overseas talent of China.  Details on the specific scoring have not been released yet.