Hiring foreign nationals in Beijing – new rules apply

More demanding duties have been introduced in relation to hiring foreign nationals in Beijing. The Notice to Further Strengthen Administration over Foreign Employment (“the Notice”) was issued by the local authorities in Beijing in September 2014. The Notice is summarised as follows:

Criteria for Foreign Employees

The Notice states that, in order to obtain a work permit for Beijing, prospective foreign employees must:

  • be between the age of 18 and 60 years old;
  • have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or, in the case of senior skilled talent without at least a bachelor’s degree, skill or qualification certificates; and
  • have a minimum of two years’ relevant experience.

The criteria set out above may be applied with the discretion of the local authority in cases of urgent social and economic development for Beijing. This will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as there is currently no list or definition for works to be included within that category.

The Notice also applies additional rules to those foreign employees carrying out education or teaching work. Those employed as teachers, in any educational facility, must also possess a teaching qualification certificate in their own country. Those solely teaching languages, must possess an internationally recognised language teaching qualification in the absence of a teaching qualification certificate.

Obligations on the Employer of Foreign Employees

The Notice requires the employer to:

  • create and maintain a personnel file which contains all documents relevant to the foreigner’s employment;
  • submit a plan of its expected demand for foreign employment for the coming year to the local labour authority by early December each year;
  • establish internal mechanisms and policies, in particular for performance evaluation, remuneration and benefits, work safety, training;
  • supervise their foreign employees to ensure they complete all necessary registration requirements with the public security authority in relation to their accommodation and living arrangements;
  • designate a stable team responsible for all issues related to foreign employment, for example permit related matters; and
  • establish an emergency plan for foreign employees.

The employer must also deal with the following obligations within the timeframe set out below:

  • deregister work related permits within 10 days of the termination of the labour contract;
  • apply for permit extensions at least 60 days prior to their expiration;
  • make an announcement through public media for a duration of 10 days upon a foreign employee leaving without notice and where they remain uncontactable for 15 days following their departure. If there is no response from the foreign employee the employer must apply for deregistration of their work permit; and
  • report the loss of, or apply for an alteration to, the employee’s work permit within 10 days of such permit being lost, stolen, damaged or the registered information changing.

As shown above, the Notice increases the criteria that must be met when looking to engage foreign employees in Beijing and puts in place new ongoing obligations on the employer. It is therefore something that should be taken into account by those companies looking to hire foreign nationals to work in Beijing.