China: Unified work authorisation application policy forthcoming

A unified work authorization application policy will be piloted in Anhui, Beijing, Guangdong, Hebei, Shandong, Shanghai, Sichuan and Tianjin Provinces and the Ning Xia Hui autonomous region starting October 2016, and will be applied nationwide after April 2017. The new system should streamline and simplify the work permit application process.

Currently, there are two separate application systems: the Foreign Expert Certificate application, handled by the Foreign Expert Bureau, and the Alien Work Permit application, handled by the Labour Bureau.


The unified application system will classify foreign nationals into the following three categories:

  • Category A for highly-skilled foreign nationals;
  • Category B for other professionals; and
  • Category C for non-technical workers who participate in seasonal or temporary work.

Foreign nationals eligible for Category A will benefit from fewer supporting document requirements and simplified application procedures.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Foreign employees should benefit from the unified work authorisation application system and should contact their immigration professional to discuss upcoming changes in application procedures.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK