Connecticut, US

Sep 15 2020

Shanghai Implements Streamlining Measures for Work Permit Process

China

At a Glance

  • Notification Letter of Work Permit applications, work permit extensions, and cancellations in Shanghai can now be submitted online, without a personal appearance.
  • Additionally, the standard government processing time for Category A, B, and C Work Permit applications, extensions and cancellations, has been reduced by two business days.
  • The maximum validity period for Category A Work Permits has increased to five years and the validity period for Category B Work Permits has increased to two years, up from one year. Both are renewable.
  • The documentary requirements for change of employer and intra-company transfer applications in Shanghai have been reduced.

The situation

Effective September 1, 2020, the Shanghai Foreign Expert Bureau has implemented measures including making the online Work Permit filing system without personal appearance a permanent resolution for employers in Shanghai. This change was introduced as a concession during the COVID-19 pandemic. The streamlining also includes shorter standard government processing times, longer Work Permit validity periods, and reduced documentary requirements for change of employer and intra-company transfer applications within Shanghai.

A closer look

  • Online process without personal appearance. Notification Letter of Work Permit applications, extensions, and cancellations may now be submitted online without a personal appearance, which includes the online submission of electronic copies of all application documents.
  • Shorter processing times. The standard government processing time for Category A Work Permit applications, extensions and cancellations has been reduced to eight business days (from 10 business days); and to 13 business days (from 15 business days) for Category B and C Work Permits.
  • Validity period increase. The maximum validity period for Category A Work Permits has increased to five years; the validity period for Category B Work Permits has increased to two years. For Category A Work Permits obtained for workers with a set salary, the validity period of the first work permit will not exceed one year. Extensions of longer validity periods will be granted when the tax certificate is verified and approved. For Category B Work Permit, the longer validity period will be granted only after one new application and one extension application.
  • Reduced documentary requirements. New Work Permit applications for change of employer and intra-company transfers whose occupation has not changed will no longer require a police clearance certificate, certificate of physical examination, or work qualification certificate, among other documents.

 

Impact

Affected employers will continue to benefit from the exemption from a personal appearance for work permit applications in Shanghai. Previously, physical copies of application documents had to be submitted in person at the Foreign Expert Bureau to complete the filing process. Both employers and foreign employees will also benefit from the reduced government processing time and longer validity periods of work permits. Employers should also benefit from simplified documents requirements for hiring foreign talent locally in Shanghai.

Background

The Chinese government has implemented these changes in Shanghai to minimize person-to-person contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to continue to digitize steps to streamline and improve the work permit process.

China has aggressively moved processes online in recent years. For example in April 2019, with the launch of the China National Immigration Administration Government Services Platform, providing 24-hour online immigration application services. In December 4, 2018, employers in China were granted the right to cancel their foreign workers’ Work Permit Notification Letters using the online work permit application system.

Looking ahead

The Chinese government is likely to continue introducing policies that will streamline other processes by utilizing online applications for foreign nationals in China, both in order to minimize person-to-person contact and as an extension, to preserve government and employer resources in immigration processes.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19-related travel bans, restrictions and concessions, among other information, check Fragomen’s dedicated website.

Fragomen in China is Fragomen (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., operating exclusively as an immigration consultancy and not as a law firm in China. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].