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Advice for Expatriates Seeking Work in China

Requirements for foreigners employed in China

In accordance with the relevant Chinese laws and regulations, any foreigners seeking employment in China shall meet the following conditions:
(1) 18 years of age or older and in good health
(2) Possessing professional skills and job experience required for the intended employment
(3) No criminal record
(4) A clearly defined employer
(5) Holding a valid passport or other international travel document in lieu of a passport

The government adopts a licensing system for foreigners employed in China. The employment unit shall apply for employment permit for foreigners and the foreigners shall be employed after approval.
Foreigner employment permit system in China is divided into three aspects, namely claiming the alien employment license certificate of the People’s Republic of China, applying for a professional visa and dealing with the Foreigner Employment Permit of the People’s Republic of China and the foreigner residence certificate. Foreigners with the approval of the employment permit in China, shall enter a country by holding professional visa (in case that there is visa-free agreement, deal with it according to the agreement), and only can engage in the employment in China upon obtaining the foreigner employment permit and residence certificate after entry.

The circumstances where a foreigner can’t be employed in China.
In accordance with the relevant Chinese laws and regulations, foreigners may not work in China under the following circumstances:
(1) Foreigners who have not been issued residence certificates-for instance, holders of F, L, C or G-type visas-shall not work in China without the approval of the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
(2) Foreigners pursuing study or internship programs in China-for instance, holders of X-type visas who are studying or have internships in China or scholars doing research in China-shall not be employed in China without the approval of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security
(3) The families of holders of employment visas shall not work in China without the approval of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security

Formalities for seeking employment in China
Foreigners seeking employment in China must first apply to a Chinese embassy, consulate or consular office for an employment visa and enter China holding an employment visa. Foreigners applying to work in an ordinary job in China should apply for a Z visa. Foreigners with high skills, specialists and those who are urgently needed should apply for an R visa. After entering China, all foreigners need to apply for a foreign employment permit and foreigner residence permit before starting work.

Employment permits in China
The employment permit for foreigners in China must be handled by the employer in accordance with the relevant regulations. The employer should, within 15 days of the entry of the employed foreigner, take to the local labor administration the employment license, the labor contract with the foreigner and his or her passport or travel document to receive the employment permit after filling out a foreigner employment registration form. The employment permit will be effective only within the area specified by the labor administration.

Samples of Foreign Employment Permit and Certificate