On 4 June 2014, Beijing Human Resources and Social Insurance Bureau, Foreign Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and Beijing Municipal Commission of Education jointly issued the Notice on Further Strengthening the Employment of Foreigners in Beijing (“Notice”) which aims at regulating the employment of foreigners, protecting the rights of both the employer and the employee and further raising the threshold for employment of foreigners in Beijing. Set out below is a summary of the salient points of the Notice:
Four Requirements to be Met by Proposed Foreign Employees
The Notice stipulates that foreigners who wish to work in Beijing should meet four requirements:
- Aged between 18 and 60*, with no criminal record.
- Hold a bachelor's degree or above, with at least two years of relevant working experience*. Foreign teachers (except language teachers) shall have at least five years of relevant working experience. Technicians without a bachelor’s degree shall have an overseas technical qualification certificate.
- Have a definite employer and a valid passport or other valid international travel documents.
- Have obtained a work permit and a residence permit for work and the work to be engaged in shall be within the scope permitted under the work permit.
* The age limit and the requirements on working experience can be relaxed for experts lacking or urgently required for the economic and social development of Beijing.
Stricter Standards for Foreign Teachers
In order to improve the quality of foreign teachers in Beijing, the Notice provides that, from 31 October 2014 onwards, foreign teachers applying for a new work permit shall meet the following requirements:
- Those engaging in education and teaching work in pre- nursery education institutions, primary and secondary schools, international schools and other education training institutions should have teaching qualification certificates issued by their own country;
- Those engaging in language teaching work should possess an internationally recognised language teaching qualification certificate if they do not have teaching qualification certificates issued by their own country.
The Notice has imposed some obligations on employers when employing foreigners, including:
- To hire foreign employees through formal and lawful channels and sign labour contracts with foreign employees in accordance with law and the term of employment shall not exceed 5 years.
- To contribute to social insurance and provide other welfare and benefits to foreign employees in accordance with law and ensure foreign employees comply with PRC law during the term of employment.
- To establish personnel archives for foreign employees which shall include documents such as photocopies of the labour contract, a valid passport and the work permit; effective registration of temporary accommodation; evidence of a clear criminal record overseas; attendance records; social insurance payment records; payroll records, etc.
- To arrange for and maintain a stable team of designated staff to handle matters relating to foreign employees including the application procedures and administration work relating to foreign employees.
- To establish an emergency plan relating to foreign affairs. Where there are emergencies (e.g. fatal accidents, medical malpractice etc.), the employer shall timely report to the Human Resources and Social Insurance Bureau, the Foreign Affairs Office, the Police and the Commission of Education.
- To timely handle the application, extension, alteration, cancellation of the work permit for foreign employees.
- To report to the Human Resources and Social Insurance Bureau at the beginning of each December the plan regarding the demand of foreign employees for the following year.
The Human Resources and Social Insurance Bureau together with the Public Security Bureau will work together to conduct investigations on and punish foreigners who illegally work in Beijing, those who direct foreigners to illegal work in Beijing and employers who illegally employ foreigners to work.
According to the latest statistics from the Beijing Municipal Government, more than 37,000 foreign employees currently work in Beijing. It is advisable to pay close attention to the details and the implementation of the Notice when employing foreigners to work in Beijing.