Immigration rules in China are changing significantly. Foreigners working in the mainland of the People’s Republic of China will be classified nationwide in categories A, B, or C from April 1, 2017. But from November 1, 2016, the new rules have already gradually been implemented on a pilot basis in several cities and provinces like Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Guangdong. The new rules do not apply to the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, as well as to Taiwan, which all have their own legal systems. The respective categories can either be achieved based on (i) general qualification of the Chinese employer, and/or individual qualification of the foreign employee, or (ii) for category A and B through a positive result under a new scoring system.
EXPAT CATEGORY A – 1) no age restrictions; 2) easier application processes Below are the preconditions (examples only)
A. Chinese employer qualification: • Global or regional headquarters of Global Fortune 500 companies (For a List of the Global Fortune 500 Click Here) • High-tech enterprises • Certain State-owned enterprises of the central government • Large enterprises (detailed criteria given) • Foreign investment enterprises in the “Encouraged Catalogue” or medium-size enterprises (employment above deputy GM level additionally required)
Plus employment as: • Senior manager • Technical expert, or • Key R&D staff
B. Or foreign employee qualification: • Past working experience as senior management or R&D key staff in the headquarter of a Global Fortune 500 company, or as manager or R&D head of GM level or above in the direct subsidiaries or regional headquarter of a Global Fortune 500 company • Past working experience as senior manager in internationally-renowned financial institutions and CPA firms • Annual income and paid IIT up to thresholds (to be defined) • Innovative talents and entrepreneurs meeting certain requirements
C. Or ≥85 points in the new scoring system • Run the Taylor Wessing China Expat Calculator to get an individual score
EXPAT CATEGORY B – 1) age limits can apply; 2) more complicated application processes and document requirements Below are the preconditions (examples only)
A. Foreign employee qualification: • Bachelor or higher degree, and • At least 2-year working experience
Plus employment as (examples only): • Management or professional technician • Middle to senior level dispatched staff of transnational companies • Chief representatives or representatives of a foreign enterprise’s representative office in China • Foreign language teachers (mother tongue teachers; exceptional rules on the working experience requirement applicable)
B. Or excellent graduate from top 100 foreign universities or a domestic university with master or higher degree For a List of the Top 100 Foreign Universities Click Here
C. Or 60-84 points in the new scoring system Run the Taylor Wessing China Expat Calculator to get an individual score
Expat Category C – subject to quota restrictions (details unknown) Below are the preconditions (examples only)
A. Foreign interns In practice in Shanghai currently only based on bilateral agreements concluded between China and a foreign country, e.g. the “China-France 1000 Interns Program
If you would like to check the score in an individual case under the new scoring system, spend 1 minute and try the Taylor Wessing China Expat Calculator.
Further changes concern the application process, involved authorities and the issued permits. In some locations like e.g. Shanghai, foreigners may enjoy certain simplified immigration processes (e.g. work (Z) visa no longer being required for the first entry), in case a work permit notice has already been issued. Under certain preconditions, Z-visa may be issued upon arrival.