CHINA: Increased processing times in Shanghai

Effective from the 2nd May 2013, the Shanghai Labour Bureau has extended processing times for Employment License and Work Permit applications.

The processing time for Employment License (EL) applications has been extended to 15 working days from the current 5 working days, with all applications submitted on or after the 2nd May 2013 affected by the change.

Applications for Work Permits (WP) will also now take 15 working days to be processed by the Shanghai Labour Bureau, rather than 5 working days as previously.  However, we are advised that the extended processing times only apply to the following categories:

  • Change of local sponsor entity – e.g. when an assignee switches employment from Company A to Company B in Shanghai;
  • Transfer from other cities into Shanghai – e.g. when an assignee transfers from Beijing or another city to Shanghai under the same group of companies or different companies;
  • Companies with China Headquarters (CHQ) status – the processing times will affect applications submitted on behalf of assignees hired/sponsored under companies with the CHQ status.

However, for companies submitting Work Permit applications under Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE), Branch Office and JV, the processing time remains at 3 to 5 working days upon submission of the necessary documents to the Shanghai Labour Bureau.

Employers should note the extended processing times and ensure that Employment License and Work Permit applications are submitted earlier than previously, in order to avoid any delays to work start dates caused by the new rules.

The status tracking system for EL and WP applications at the Shanghai Labour Bureau has not yet been upgraded in line with the changes and therefore applicants are advised that the printed submission receipt will indicate the application process status as being “open” rather than confirming the exact processing time of 15 working days.

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