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News & Knowledge

New visa policies aimed at benefiting foreigners in China

5th February 2020

China is looking to better facilitate resident permits and visa issuance to foreign nationals who have particular high-level talents that are of interest to China for its future development. The policies overall seem to streamline the process foreigners have to go through to apply for their visa and permanent residence permits, and opens new opportunities to make it easier for young professionals and highly skilled individuals to work for well-established organisations with good standing or for innovative and entrepreneurial organisations and activities.

Not all regions have the same policies, thus making the benefits different from region to region. MSI's Chinese accounting member LehmanBrown explains the policy changes for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Shenzhen highlighting the benefits in each region.

New Visa Policies Aimed at Benefiting Foreigners in Beijing

Beijing’s policies bring more possibilities for talented and innovative professionals to gaining their permanent residence permit and for acquiring a visa. What is new is the new possibilities for obtaining a visa for entrepreneurs, foreign interns, and outstanding international students with a bachelor degree or above and engaging in innovative activities in China. Lastly, there is also a much-welcomed policy of the Immigration Service Centre which will be located in areas where there are large concentrations of foreigners to assist them with work, education, and living in Beijing.

Policies regarding the acquisition of the Permanent Resident Permit

  1. Foreigners with high-level professional talents who meet the particular needs of China may apply for permanent residency to the Exit-Entry Administration Department of the Public Security Bureau in China upon the recommendation of the relevant competent authority of the state, the people’s government at the provincial level, or at the key development regional administrative departments of the state. Foreign spouses and minor children of the above-mentioned persons may apply together.
  2. Foreigners working in China for four consecutive years, living in China for no less than six months each year, whose annual income is more than six times of the average wage in the region where they were employed in the previous year, and who bear an income tax of more than 20% of the income standards, is eligible to apply for the permanent residence in China. Foreign spouses and minor children may apply together.
  3. Foreign Chinese applicants working in China with a doctoral degree or working in the key development area of the state for more than four consecutive years, and living in China for no less than six months each year, may apply for permanent residence at the exit-entry bureau. Foreign spouses and minor children may apply together.

Policies regarding both Visa and Residence Permits 

  1. Foreign experts and scholars invited by prominent domestic higher education institutions, scientific research institutes, and well-established enterprises, as well as high-level executives and professionals with sought-after technical skills, may apply for a visa on entry at the port visa department of the Public Security Bureau. Upon entering China, the applicant can apply for multiple visas or residence permits valid for less than five years directly at the Exit-Entry Bureau by presenting the certificate letter and any other supporting documents required.
  2. Foreign talents and members of start-up companies operating in key local industries may apply for a residence permit of up to five years at the Exit-Entry Bureau by way of a work permit, a letter and any other supporting materials required. Those applicants can apply for their residence permit using a reference letter from their team leader.
  3. Foreigners who can prove an outstanding professional track record and meet the special needs of the state may recommend foreign members of the working team and research support personnel to apply for long-term visas or residence permits, valid for less than five years, at the Exit-Entry Bureau.
  4. Foreigners employed by enterprises and public institutions in China whose existing work permits are about to expire and cannot spare enough time to apply for a new work visa may apply for the work residence permit at the Exit-Entry Bureau using their existing work permit and other supporting materials. For those who have applied for the work residence permit for more than one year twice consecutively without any violation of laws or regulations may apply for the work residence permit for a valid period of five years at the Exit-Entry Bureau, in accordance with the provisions of the third application for the work residence permit.
  5. Highly skilled foreign talents working in key domestic institutions in higher education, scientific research institutes and well-established enterprises can accept part-time occupations in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship with the consent of their departments whether they work full-time or part-time, as well as the Exit-Entry Bureau.
  6. Outstanding foreign students who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree or above in key domestic higher education institutions and are engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship activities in China after graduation may apply for a residence permit valid for two to five years at the Exit-Entry Bureau, on the condition of providing the university graduation certificate, innovation and entrepreneurship certificate and other certification materials that may be requested.
  7. Foreign students who graduate from internationally renowned universities and come to work in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship in China within two years after graduation may apply for a residence permit valid for less than two years directly at the Exit-Entry Bureau on the strength of academic record (degree) certificates and other materials.
  8. Foreign students from overseas colleges and universities who are invited to work temporarily in China by well-established local companies and institutions may apply for a visa at the Exit-Entry Bureau, valid for one year for internships by presenting their invitation letter and the university certificate, as well as any other supporting materials required. Foreign students who come to China for an internship following the inter-governmental agreement may apply for a work residence, should they meet all the required provisions.

Immigration Service Centre for assistance to foreign nationals

  1. The Government has announced that it will establish immigration service centres in areas with a large concentration of foreigners for providing the further assistance including the legal assistance, language and culture activities, and any other services that are related to working, studying, and living in China to a foreign applicant.

These policies are a much welcome change, and there are plenty of opportunities now making working, living or studying in Beijing easier. However, if you are not sure how to enjoy these new benefits or the process and paperwork seem too overwhelming, LehmanBrown can help you through the dedicate Visa Services based in Beijing.


About LehmanBrown International Accountants - Beijing

LehmanBrown is a China-focused accounting, taxation and business advisory firm, operating dedicated offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen with an extensive affiliate network providing service throughout China.

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