CHINA | New Integrated Work Permit System Debuts in Shanghai

The much-anticipated new Chinese “Foreigners Service Work Management System” went live in Shanghai last week as expected, with the first new integrated work permit reportedly being issued on November 3 to the Dean of Students at the SJTU-ParisTech Elite Institute of Technology in Shanghai. The application was processed through the new online application system, which purports to have significantly fewer document requirements than the current paper-based system. Applicants receiving approvals through this online system will be issued a temporary paper version of the new “Foreigners Work Permit,” which will be exchanged for a new plastic RFID permit card after the new system is fully implemented in April.

As Pro-Link GLOBAL reported previously, the new system administered through the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) combines the current two-permit system – with its often-varying regional requirements – into an integrated, national, standardized scheme. The effort to streamline the current process is designed to attract more highly-skilled foreign talent to China by making it easier for employers and their foreign employees to obtain work authorization in China. While officially the nation-wide implementation is scheduled for April 1, 2017, SAFEA announced that it was rolling out the new system as a pilot program in eight provinces starting November 1. See our Global Brief of October 27 for more details. However, the new system is currently only operating in Shanghai and does not appear to be up and running yet in the other seven provinces as previously announced by SAFEA.