China improves work permits

By Zhang Xinyuan Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/9 23:58:39

New expat policy would encourage more top talent

China has vowed to implement a new policy on work permits for foreigners, which would simplify the approval process to work in China to encourage more high-level talent to the country.

Under the current system, foreigners are allowed to apply for two types of work permit: an employment license for foreign employees and a foreign expert work permit for top talent, which are issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) respectively, the Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

The SAFEA will merge the two permits into a single work permit, making it easier for foreigners to work in China, said Gao Xiang, director of the Department of Policies and Regulations under the SAFEA on Thursday.

Some application materials will not be needed when foreigners apply for the new work permit, such as a personal resume.

The new work permit will allow foreigners to work in China which can be applied online.

When the policy takes effect, foreigners can either keep their old working permit within the validity period or replace it with the new working permit.

Meanwhile, foreign workers will be classified into categories A, B and C, with A as a top talent, B a professional talent and C an unskilled worker or those working in the service industry,  Xinhua reported.

The country will take measures to encourage the introduction of top talent while limiting the B and C categories, which are less needed. A green channel will be opened for top talent to apply for a work permit.

The pilot policy also includes a points system. The expats will be ranked according to their salary in China, educational background, the time they've worked in China, Chinese language proficiency level,age and location (they will get higher points if they work in less developed regions). If their points are higher than 85, they will be considered an A-type expat, 60 points for B and C for those below 60 points.

The new policy will first be piloted in North China's Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, East China's Shanghai, Anhui Province and Shandong Province, South China's Guangdong Province, Southwest China's Sichuan Province and Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region from October 2016 to March 2017, according

The new permit will be applied to foreigners across the country on April 1, 2017 when the trial ends, according to Gao.

"So many documents were needed, and we had to go to the government departments many times to submit them," Colin Friedman, the owner of an event planning company based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

Friedman said he is excited that China is making an effort to make it easier for foreigners who want to work in the country.

"But if the new online system is in English, I hope it would be standard English instead of Chinglish," Friedman said.

Douglas Leopold, a teacher from Canada who works in Beijing, said that putting foreigners into different categories will give high-level experts like him more opportunities and advantages in China.

"I hope I can work longer in China," Leopold said.

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