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Thanks to enormous economic growth over the past two decades, China continues to attract foreigners with special skills and advanced education. The education sector is China’s largest of employment for foreigners – nearly 25% of the foreign workforce is in the teaching profession.
For the rest, expats have traditionally taken upper management and senior level jobs in fields such as IT, human resources, finance, accounting and manufacturing companies. However, as the country continues its shift towards a service and special skills economy, there are now many opportunities in industries such as sales, marketing, engineering, and banking, particularly for multinational firms.
The most common visa category for temporary employment in China is the ‘Z’ Visa, which enables employers to sponsor approved skilled migrants to work in China on temporary assignments which are longer than 4 months in duration.
Business visitors can be granted a visa for foreign passport holders seeking to enter China for up to three months or less for permitted business activities.
Chinese visa processes are notoriously difficult for assignees to navigate and Immigration procedures are largely carried out at a local level. As each region has a unique structure, processes and requirements vary greatly from region to region. Therefore each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Processes and requirements will vary according to the labour market at the time of application, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants. We, therefore, recommend that you contact us for specific advice on individual cases.
Processes and requirements will vary according to the labour market at the time of application, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants. We, therefore, recommend that you contact us for up-to-date information.
Applicants will be required to submit a variety of personal documents to support the application which include, but are not limited to:
passport and copy of information page, CV, job description, medical report, police clearance certificate, proof of accommodation in China, current employment contract and salary and allowance information and birth and marriage certificates for any family dependants; as well as a variety of corporate documents which may include: Company business licence, organisation code certificate, certificate of approval, letters of support/invitation letter, assignment letter, employment contract, Application Report, Board of Director Resolution, Articles of Association, Company’s Registration Book/Certificate, Guarantee Letter, tax declarations and/or reports, plus documents issued to the company by the local government agency.
Many corporate documents will need to be “chopped” with company chop (stamp).
Some documents will also need to be legalised and/or translated prior to submission. Newland Chase can assist with this.
Processing times will vary according to visa type, nationality, and country of application. However, an indication of processing times is as follows:
Shanghai – typically takes 1 to 3 months until entry to China and a further 1 month before the whole process is completed
Beijing – typically takes 1 to 6 months until entry to China and a further 1 month before the whole process is completed
Shenzen – typically takes 1 to 6 months until entry to China and a further 1 month before the whole process is completed
Guangzhou – typically takes 2 to 6 months until entry to China and a further 1 month before the whole process is completed
Short-Term Work Authorisation (under 90 days) – typically takes 1 to 4 months until entry to China, and a further 2 weeks to 1 month before the whole process is completed
Shanghai – The work permit is generally issued for 12 months initially – although in some cases the WP may be issued for up to 2 years – and renewals are possible.
Beijing – The work permit is generally issued for 12 months initially – although in some cases the WP may be issued for up to 3 years – and renewals are possible.
Shenzen – The work permit is generally issued for 12 months initially – although in some cases the WP may be issued for up to 2 years – and renewals are possible.
Guangzhou – The work permit is generally issued for 12 months initially – although in some cases the WP may be issued for up to 2 years – and renewals are possible.
Foreigners can enter China on a business visa, for a short trip, to carry out business activities. However, it is strictly prohibited to carry out any work on a business visa.
Therefore, while there is nothing to stop you from looking for jobs, you would not be able to commence any form of employment until you have acquired the appropriate work authorisation, which involves returning to your country of residence.
There are different requirements for permanent residence according to the type of visa an expat is on.
Under the Employment visa route, permanent residency expats must meet the following criteria to be eligible for permanent residence:
Have worked as a deputy general manager, deputy factory director or above, or of associate professor, associate research fellow and other associate senior titles of professional post; and
Worked for at least four successive years, with a minimum period of residence in China for three cumulative years within the four years; and have a good tax record.
For more details on whether you can qualify for permanent residency, please contact us.
Requirements and procedures are subject to change, and non-compliance with Chinese immigration rules could incur penalties such as fines, deportation or even imprisonment.
As such, you would be advised to start the visa application process well in advance of the desired date of relocation and to consult with a Newland Chase Immigration Advisor for up-to-date information.
ShanghaiRoom 1115-1117, 11F, Garden Square Centre
No.968 West Beijing Road
Jing an District Shanghai 200041, P.R.China
Office +86 21 5203 7518
TianjinTianjin World Financial Center
Room 4120, 41F
2 Dagubei Road
Tianjin 300022 China
Office +86 22 5830 7661
People's Republic of China
1,376,049,000 (2015 estimate)
Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur
China Standard Time (UTC +8)
Renminbi Yuan (CNY)