China: Unified Work Authorization Application Policy

The State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs of China has released policy guidelines for the Unified Work Authorization Application.

The Unified Work Authorization Application has been designed to attract highly-skilled foreign nationals, streamline the application process, increase transparency and improve data sharing schemes. Further implementation details for the three different categories of foreign applicants are expected to be released in the near future.

The policy will be piloted in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and the provinces of Anhui, Guangdong, Hebei, Shandong, Sichuan, Yunnan and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region through March 2017.


Some of the new practices have been adopted from other countries, such as web-based services, a points-based eligibility system based on factors such as work experience and education, and different application processes depending on whether the applicant is working on- or off-shore.

The unified online application system should allow data sharing between the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

The unified online application system should standardise processing times and work permit application document requirements nationally.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK