Employment visas in China – getting it right

Obtaining an employment visa for foreign nationals in China can be daunting. Often companies do not strictly adhere to the relevant rules and regulations, during the application process, which commonly results in delays and some cases visa rejections. At Horizons, we advise companies to factor in ample time to process the visa including additional documentation requests. Equally, each application should be considered individually, as supporting documentation requests may differ from case to case.

Foreign employment visa application

On 1 April 2017, the State Administration of Foreign Expats Affairs reformed procedures for the employment visa of foreign nationals. Namely, the reform established a points assessment system in which applications are classified under the following types.

Type A: above 85 points

Foreign specialists (highly talented individuals) particularly in the field of science and technology, innovative entrepreneurs, and outstanding experts, as well as those selected for Government Social and Economic development programmes.

Type B: 60-85 points

Foreign professionals who meet the scoring system and are between the 18 – 60 years

Type C: Under 40 points

Seasonal workers

Once the employment visa is obtained, employers should pay attention to the regulations and rules concerning visa changes. Failure to implement the correct process can be deemed as a violation or illegal employment of foreigners. We outline the dos and don’ts in foreign employment visa amendment procedures for companies with foreign national employees.

Do pay attention to the employment term

The employer and the foreign employee shall, by the law, sign an employment contract, the term of which shall not exceed five years. Upon its expiry, the employment contract shall be terminated, and the work permit rendered invalid.

Don’t neglect cut-off dates

If an extension of the employment contract is required, the employer must apply to the relevant labour administration department for approval within 30 days before the expiry of the original contract. Once the application has been approved, procedures for extension of the work permit should be completed.

Foreign employees who have received approval to extend their employment term in China or to change their employment location or employer must complete procedures for the extension or amendment of their residence permit with the local public security authority within 10 days of receiving such approval.

Foreign employees who have received approval to extend their employment term in China or to change their employment location or employer must complete procedures for the extension or amendment of their residence permit with the local public security authority within 10 days of receiving such approval.

Do notify the authorities when a foreign employee is terminated

When the employment contract between an employer and a foreign employee is terminated, the employer shall promptly notify the labour and public security departments, arrange for the return of the foreign employee’s work permit and residence permit, and complete procedures with the public security department regarding that employee’s departure from the country.

Don’t fail to terminate a foreign employee if the individual violates the Chinese law

Where a foreigner’s residence permit is revoked by the public security department due to his or her violation of Chinese law, the employer should terminate that employee’s labour contract and the local labour administration department should revoke his or her work permit.

Do note that annual inspections of foreigners’ work permits shall be conducted

Labour administration departments shall conduct an annual inspection of foreigners’ work permits. The employer should visit the relevant certificate-issuing office of the labour administration department to carry out procedures for the annual inspection of the work permit within 30 days before the completion of each year of employment. Permits which have not undergone inspection before the deadline will automatically become invalid.

If you would like more information the employment of foreigners in China or other related issues, send us an email at talktous@horizons-advisory.com, and we’ll have a Horizons professional contact you.