Global Alerts

China – Broader Visa Policies to Attract Foreign Talent

The National Immigration Administration in China has implemented new immigration and entry-exit policies, effective nationwide from August 1, 2019. The 12 new policies aim to attract foreign talent, outstanding youths and overseas Chinese to innovate, start businesses, study and work in China to help promote economic and social development. The changes will make it easier for skilled foreign applicants to come to China and allow a wider range of foreigners to apply for permanent residency, long-term visas, and residence permits.

Among the changes are the following:

New types of applicant now eligible to apply for permanent residence

Three new applicant types may apply for permanent residence at the Exit-Entry Administration Department of the Public Security Bureau:

  • Foreigners with high-level professional talents who meet the special needs of the state, upon the recommendation of the relevant competent authorities of the state, the People’s government at the provincial level, or the key development regional administrative departments of the state;
  • Foreigners working in China for four consecutive years, living in the territory for no less than six months out of each year, whose annual income is no less than six times above the average wage in the region they were employed in the previous year, and who bear an income tax of more than 20% of the income standard;
  • Foreign Chinese applicants working in China with a doctoral degree or working in key development areas of the state for more than four consecutive years and living in the territory for no less than six months out of each year.

Foreign spouses and minor children of the above-listed applicants may apply together with the principal applicant.

Broader scope of long-term visa and residence permits

  • Foreign experts and students invited by prominent higher education institutions, scientific research institutes, and well-established enterprises in China, as well as high-level executives and professionals with sought-after technical skills, may apply for a port visa 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 5 years directly at the Exit-Entry Bureau with the relevant supporting documentation;
  • Foreign talents and members of start-up companies operating in key local industries may apply for a residence permit of up to 5 years;
  • Foreigners who can prove an outstanding professional track record and meet the special requirements 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 5 years;
  • Foreigners employed by enterprises and public institutions in China whose existing work permits are about to expire may apply for the work residence permit using their existing work permit and other supporting documentation;
  • Applicants 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 valid for 5 years, in accordance with the provisions of the third application for the work residence permit.

Broader scope for introducing foreign talents

  • Highly skilled foreign talents working in key institutions in higher education, scientific research institutes and well-established enterprises in China can accept part-time occupations in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship with the consent of their work units and part-time units, as well as the Exit-Entry Bureau;
  • Outstanding foreign students who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree or above in key higher education institutions in China and are engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship activities in China after graduation may apply for a residence permit valid for 2 to 5 years, by presenting the required supporting documentation;
  • Foreign students who graduate from internationally renowned universities and come to work in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship in China within 2 years after graduation may apply for a residence permit valid for less than 2 years on the strength of their academic (degree) certificates and other supporting documentation;
  • 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 for an internship valid for one year by presenting the required supporting documentation. Foreign students who come to China for an internship in accordance with the inter-governmental agreement may apply for a work residence, should they meet all the required provisions.

Further assistance to foreigners

China aims to establish immigration service centers in areas with large concentrations of foreigners to provide legal assistance, language and cultural activities, and any other services that are related to working, studying, and living in China as a foreign applicant.

Action Items

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact an immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

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