March 11, 2021

Shanghai Changes Work Permit Requirements

The Shanghai Expert Bureau issued a notice of relaxed work permit requirements specifically for foreign nationals who are in scientific and technological occupations, innovative and entrepreneurial roles or are special experts. The changes are in support of the Chinese government’s objective to attract highly skilled foreign nationals within these areas of expertise and develop Shanghai as a known global center of technological expertise.

Specific changes include:

    • Foreign Nationals with Scientific and Technological Occupations
      The age limit, years work experience and degree requirements for project employees recognized by the municipal government in Shanghai will be relaxed and determined at the discretion of the authorities. Typically, foreign nationals seeking to enter under the scientific and technological occupations program needed to be under 60 years old with at least two years’ work experience and a bachelor’s degree. If the application is approved, the work permit may be valid for an initial period of two years now, whereas it was previously only valid for one.

      Further to the above, scientific and technological category applicants who are not eligible to apply for Category A Work Permits will be permitted to apply for a Category B or C Work Permit by providing a Commitment to waive the clean criminal record requirement during the application.

      Additionally, those foreign nationals with scientific or technological occupations who already hold a work permit are permitted to also take a part-time job with another employer or start a business in Shanghai once they have obtained pre-approval and submitted the required supporting documentation to the authorities.

      The relaxed requirements for foreign nationals in scientific and technological occupations also permits individuals to apply for an R visa that would be valid for 10 years, doubling the previous R visa validity of 5 years.

    • Foreign Nationals with Innovative Entrepreneurial Occupations
      The age limit, work experience and degree requirements for foreign nationals with innovative entrepreneurial occupations and who are investors, will also be relaxed by the Expert Bureau. Approval will be at the discretion of the Chinese authorities. Prior to the changes, eligible applicants had to be under 60 years of age, have a minimum of two years of work experience and hold a degree.

    • Special Foreign Experts
      The age limit, work experience and degree requirements will be relaxed by the Expert Bureau for those who wouldn’t typically be eligible for the Category A Work Permit. Those who are under 70 years of age and either hold a general foreign vocational qualification, perform a skill that is urgently needed in Shanghai, or hold other international vocational qualifications will now be able to submit an application, thus giving employers a broader range of employees who could be eligible.

    • Employer Trust Program
      There will be increased enforcement in the Employer Trust Program, with supervision and verification by the authorities for work permit applications under higher scrutiny. Applicants can submit a Commitment letter instead of some of the standard documents required for a work permit. However, as enforcement is increasing, employers and applicants should be careful to ensure the authenticity of the documents they submit and cooperate with any verification requests.

For further information on work permit requirements for Shanghai, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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