New policy details further define the R (Talent) Visa category and its benefits, such as 90-day processing of Permanent Residence Permit applications and the ability to hire foreign housekeeping workers.
The improvements outlined in our earlier client alert, including Permanent Residence status eligibility for some foreign workers and easier Residence Permit eligibility for foreign students and entrepreneurs under the Private Affairs category, among others, have been memorialized in the regulations.
The Shanghai Public Security Bureau has released regulations relating to the relaxed Permanent Residency eligibility rules for skilled workers, new graduates and other foreign workers in Shanghai. As expected, more foreign workers are eligible for Permanent Residence status. Processing times have also been reduced for highly-skilled foreign workers’ Permanent Residence status applications.
R (Talent) Visa Regulations
The regulations define R (Talent) Visa holders as high-level foreign workers recruited by the Chinese government, high-level foreign workers recognized by the Shanghai Municipality Authority Department and high-level foreign workers recruited from the new occupations list developed by the Shanghai Science Innovation Department.
R (Talent) Visa holders will see 90-day processing of Permanent Residence Permit applications instead of the normal 180 days, and they will be able to hire foreign housekeeping workers, which is typically not allowed for other foreign workers.
As a result, foreign housekeeping workers are eligible for a new kind of Residence Permit if they are hired by a Permanent Residence Permit holder in China or by an R (Talent) Visa holder with a Work-Type Residence Permit in Shanghai.
Other Policy Changes
Some of the anticipated improvements have been adopted, including the following:
• Permanent Residence status eligibility for foreign nationals who have worked in Shanghai continuously for four years, have resided in China at least six cumulative months per year, and who meet annual income and income tax thresholds;
• Residence Permit eligibility for foreign student interns and entrepreneurs under the Private Affairs category;
• The ability for highly-skilled foreign workers to transfer their Work-Type Residence status to Permanent Residence status after three years of work;
• The ability for foreign students to apply for a two-year Residence Permit under the Private Affairs category to conduct internships or start businesses in Shanghai;
• The ability for foreign investors planning to invest in Shanghai who do not obtain work permits abroad on time to obtain a Private Affairs visa upon arrival and then apply for a Residence Permit in country; and
• The ability for foreign workers who have applied for a Work-Type Residence Permit twice successively and who have not been charged with violations of Chinese laws to be eligible for a Work-Type Residence Permit valid for five years.
The regulations do not mention the anticipated extension of the visa-free policy from 72-hour stays to 144-hour stays, therefore, the 72-hour policy still applies.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Highly-skilled foreign workers eligible for the R (Talent) Visa should benefit from faster processing times, easier Work-Type Residence permit conversion and the ability to hire foreign housekeeping staff. Relaxed Permanent Residence status eligibility should benefit foreign workers who do not qualify for the R (Talent) Visa.
The new policies’ regulatory details are expected to be released soon. Fragomen will continue to provide further updates as new information is provided by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau and other relevant authorities.