China Ranking Expats by 'Talent' in New Work Permit System Launching Next Month

By Jonty Dixon, September 13, 2016

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A new pilot scheme by the Chinese government will streamline work permit applications for foreign workers. Currently foreigners can apply for work permits through the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security or through the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA). These two types of work permits, an employment license for foreign employees and a foreign expert work permit, currently on offer are set to be combined. This moves comes as the Chinese government continues the recent trend of attracting top level foreign talent to the country, including increasing the age of earning work permits to 60 in Shanghai.

This pilot scheme which is set to be introduced from October 2016 to March 2017, will cover Shanghai, Beijing, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Sichuan and Ningxia, and will make the application process for prospective foreign workers a simpler and easier process. The reform will also be implemented nationwide in April 2017, the administration added.

The scheme will classify workers into three categories: “A” for top-tiered talent; “B” for professional talent; “C” for unskilled workers or those working in the service industry. The aim of the government is to increase the number of “A” workers while keeping the levels of “B” and “C” workers stable.

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A new permit card will be issued after the pilot has been completed in April 2017, which include the worker’s identification number, photo and name. During the trial workers will be issued with a temporary paper permit which will include one’s name and photo.

Gao Xiang, the director of the administrations department of policies and regulations said, “The new work permit card will be the legal credential for foreigners to work in China."

This decision, taken in December last year, follows the recent trend of the Government trying to attract top level talent. In 2011, more than 600,000 foreigners had lived in China for more than 6 months, of which 200,000 were working in the country, many of them in joint ventures with local residents or as teachers or in foreign institutions.

[Image via Horizon]

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