China updates work permit renewal policy and introduces R-Visa

Foreign companies must, as of 28 February 2018, submit work permit renewal applications for their foreign workers at least 30 days prior to their expiry, according to a notice from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA).

If a company fails to renew a work permit in time, it will then be required to follow the procedures for applying for a new work permit. To renew a work permit, a company must provide the labour bureau with a renewal application form along with the employee’s labour contract, passport, residence permit and current work permit.

Applying for a new work permit under China’s recently revised system is much more costly and time consuming than renewing one. Among other documents, applicants are required to submit a notarised university degree, proof of employment, a medical test and a criminal record check.

SAFEA has also released implementing guidelines for the Talent (R) Visa, a multiple-entry visa that allows foreign professionals eligible for Category A of the unified work permit classification system to perform business activities. These guidelines apply to nine cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, as of 1 January 2018.

The R-Visa is a new type of visa specifically issued to foreign high-level talents and specialist personnel and entitles the holder to the following benefits:

  • A validity period of 5 to 10 years with multiple entries;
  • Spouses and children of R-Visa holders also allowed to enter the country on an R-Visa;
  • Expedited processing times – R-Visa can be issued within two working days; and
  • No visa fees will be charged.

In general, an R-Visa will be issued to scientists, technological leaders, international entrepreneurs or talents with extraordinary abilities, who are needed for the Chinese economic and social development and accommodated to the market demand. An R-Visa applicant must first obtain a Certificate for Foreign High-end Talent and meet the criteria for Category A as defined in the Classification Standards for Foreigners Working in China (Trial Implementation), which are formulated and may be amended from time to time by the SAFEA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security.

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