This GMS Flash Alert reports on a pilot program which has been launched in select locations in the People’s Republic of China intended to simplify foreigners’ applications for the new “Employment Permit” and entailing the administration of work visa applications by classification and a points-based methodology.
On 1 October 2016, the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs launched a pilot program to simplify foreigners’ applications for the so-called “Employment Permit” in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).1 Local administrative measures have been rolled out in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Sichuan, Ningxia, and Hebei. The pilot will run until 31 March 2017, and the new nationwide administrative measures will be launched on 1 April 2017.
Shanghai, as one of the first cities in the nation to pilot the program, officially kicked off on 1 November 2016, with the establishment of a mechanism for the administration of work visa applications by classification and providing easy access to highly-skilled talent as they apply for work visas, while stipulating a quota on visas for seasonal unskilled workers.
According to the guidelines of the pilot program, the former Alien Employment Permit and Foreign Expert Certificate, which were issued by two different sub-national governmental authorities, will now be consolidated into one single permit to be issued by one governmental authority. This is intended to enhance the efficiency of the administration and ongoing monitoring of the application procedures.
As noted above, the new Employment Permit (officially known as the “Notification of Employment Permit for Foreigners”) replaces the former Alien Employment Permit and Foreign Experts Certificate and will be issued in electronic form. The new Employment Permit echoes the principle of “one lifetime code per person,” which provides the foundation for the nationwide administration of the employment of foreigners in the PRC.
The new system focuses on administering the issuance of the Employment Permit on a points-based methodology, which classifies foreigners who intend to take up employment in the PRC by their competencies, relevant work experiences, and contributions in the following categories:
The guidelines issued define a set of criteria with assigned points, which will be used to classify foreigners. The new points-based classification methodology will enhance the experience of Category A applicants by reducing the amount of application documents and by simplifying the application procedures. It should be noted that a quota is being proposed on the Category C applications.
A new online application system will be introduced to simplify application procedures and to reduce the number of in-person visits required to the labour bureau. Employers are now required to complete the applications online and upload a copy of the supporting documents for the labour bureau’s pre-approval. Once pre-approved, hard copies of the supporting documents, such as certificate of degree, professional qualifications, non-criminal record, medical examination report, and employment contract should be submitted in person at the labour bureau for verification, while hard copies of the applicant’s passport, receipt of the issued permit, and resumes are no longer required.
A Few Important Observations
1 Notice by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of P. R. China on Carrying out the Pilot Program of Issuing Work Permits for Foreigners Getting Work in China (hereinafter referred to as “Notice of SAFEA  No. 151”).
“Value Table Based on a Point-Factor Method (trial version)” promulgated by the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau on 18 October 2016.
Notice on Carrying out the Pilot Program of Issuing Work Permits for Foreigners Getting Work in China promulgated by the Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs on 11 October 2016.
This article is excerpted, with permission, from “Pilot Program for New Employment Permit (Shanghai),” in China Tax Alert (Issue 33, November 2016), a publication of the KPMG International member firm in China.
For additional information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional* or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China:
tel. +86 (21) 2212 3458
tel. +86 (21) 2212 3486
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The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China.
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