CHINA: Recent procedure changes to work and residence permits

The Federal Chinese Authorities have recently announced changes to the documentary requirements for work and residence permits, along with changes to the application procedures in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

The following changes have also been made relating to processing for Chinese Residence Permit applications:  

  • Renewal of Residence Permits – renewal applications must be filed at least 30 days prior to the current Residence Permit expiration date;
  • Processing of Residence Permit applications – processing times for Residence Permit applications have been extended to 15 working days.


Up to now the procedure in China has been that once a migrant has been granted a Z Visa to enter China, they must immediately apply (within 24 hours) for a Work Permit. One of the documents required to support the application was a copy of the employer”s business licence.

However, the Beijing Government Authority have recently announced that the original business licence will now be needed when filing an application for a Work Permit. After the Work Permit is issued, the migrant must also apply for a Residence Permit.

Another change announced by the Beijing Exit/Entry Bureau is that when an application is made for a Residence Permit for accompanying legal dependants, original marriage certificates and original birth certificates for children will now have to be legalised by the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in the applicant”s home country or country of residence. Then both the original relationship certificates and legalised copies will have to be submitted in support of the application whereas previously only the originals were required. This change is effective from 1 September 2013.


In Shanghai, there are two classifications of residence authorisation. The Residence Permit gives a foreign national the right to reside in Shanghai, and the Residence B Card confers additional benefits to the holder. The benefits include –

  • Enrolment in public schools for children.; and
  • Tax refunds when purchasing a home.

Recently, the Shanghai Labor Bureau has made efforts to reduce the number of Residence B Card holders by requiring that certain applicants provide additional qualifications to be eligible for the permit. To date, holding a Work Permit was sufficient to apply for the Residence B Card. However, now the Shanghai Authorities reserve the right to require that the applicant hold a Chinese Foreign Expert Permit. The Foreign Expert Permit is granted to foreigners who qualify as having exceptional skills, talent or experience in fields including teaching, healthcare, engineering, finance, sports and research.

If you are interested in emigrating to China on a work permit or via any other route, please contact us or call us on +44 (0)207 0012121 for more information.


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