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China Residence Permits for Employees – What Employers Need to Know

Residence Permits for Workers in China


When hiring employees in China, it is important that you understand the immigration and labor laws related to this action. Additionally, many foreign companies want their China employees to come from their headquarters or existing business structure and help the local team.

Likes many aspects of hiring employees in China, many strict rules surround these transactions conducted by foreign companies without a legal structure in the country. Horizons can explain the immigration process and provide immigration consulting services to assist you with this process.  

Hire in China in 24 hours with Horizons EOR services.

What Is the Chinese Residence Permit?

A residence permit signifies how long a nonresident person can live in China.

Chinese residence permits look like visas and are included in a foreigner’s passport. Having a residence permit allows a person to enter and exit the country while the permit period is valid.

Residence permits are commonly used by expatriates who work in China.

Types of Residence Permits in China 

There are three types of residence permits that give a foreigner the legal right to reside in China, including the following:

#1 Permanent Residence Permits 

Permanent residence permits are good for workers who want to become a more permanent part of the Chinese culture. These permits are valid for ten years and can be renewed every ten years. They accompany a D visa.

#2 Foreigner Residence Permit

This type of residence permit is the most common for many foreigners who work in China. It is usually valid for one year.It can usually be renewed every year. It is important to know when you hire workers China in certain positions, such as company executives or legal representatives, they may qualify for a foreigner residence permit that is valid for two years.

#3 Temporary Residence Permits 

This type of residence permit has the fastest expiration period, usually for a period less than one year after the employee in China acquired it. A temporary residence permit is usually provided to individuals who do not plan to stay in China for long, such as a visiting scholar or someone who is coming to the country for vocational training.

Horizons provides comprehensive immigration consulting services, helping you to obtain the necessary documents to have your staff work legally in China.

We help employers through each step of the process and provide customized support. Our experts are familiar with current immigration requirements and can ensure that your application meets the latest standards.

We provide you with timely reminders so that you can avoid any surprises or last-minute changes. You are informed of your employee’s application status at every opportunity. 

Important Policy Information for Chinese Residence Permits

In 2015, the Ministry of Public Security in Shanghai implemented new policies that affect residence permits and make the process easier and more convenient for certain groups. Some of the important changes include:

  • Expert residence permit – The Shanghai Science and Technology Commission developed a list of more than 3,500 firms in China whose employees qualify as an “expert.” If your company is on this list, you can offer employees the opportunity to apply for a five-year work permit. Additionally, after your employee in China works here for more than three years, he or she can apply directly for permanent residency status.
  • Five-year residence permit – Expatriates who have worked continuously in Shanghai for at least two years with a work visa and who have not violated any Chinese immigration laws can apply to receive a residence permit that is valid for five years the next time they renew their permit. This is a much more convenient option for China employees than renewing their residency status every year.
  • China university graduate residence permit – Foreign students who attended a Chinese university are encouraged to apply for a two-year residence permit after graduation. This policy helps China keep their brightest and top students in the country. Graduates can take advantage of this option to complete an internship, take advantage of a short-term assignment or establish a startup venture.
  • High earner benefit – China wants to incentivize businesses to invest in the China market and offers China employees who have high incomes to acquire their permanent residence permit. To qualify for this benefit, the employee in China must earn more than 600,000 RMB, paid their income taxes of 120,000 RMB or more per year, worked in Shanghai for more than four years in a row and not have acquired a criminal record in their home country.
  • Personal employment permit – Expatriates who have a permanent residence permit or five-year work permit are allowed to hire personnel who can then receive their own residence permit. This allows expatriates to hire a foreign nanny or Ayi.

How Horizons Can Help

Horizons can help businesses that are looking to hire China foreign workers. We provide extensive immigration consulting to our clients.

Additionally, we offer comprehensive China PEO services. The practice of hiring companies or employees in other countries is known as employee leasing. Through this mechanism, a foreign company can hire a China-based staffing agency who is technically the employer of record.

In this role, we are responsible for complying with complicated immigration and labor laws. We can hire employees for companies that do not yet have a legal entity in China through our PEO services. We can also manage payroll, employee benefits and all administrative tasks.

Contact us today to learn about how your business can achieve long-term financial and strategic outcomes with the help of our market-leading experts.