CHINA: Introduction of Three-Year and Short Term Work Permits

Three-Year Work Permits

At the end of December 2014, The Labour Bureau in Beijing announced that, in certain circumstances, Work Permits may be issued with validity of up to 3 years, rather than the standard 12 months.

Foreign national employees of Foreign Investment Companies, including China-Foreign Joint Ventures and Cooperation Projects and Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises (WFOE), and Representative Offices, may be granted Entry or Extension Work Permits valid for up to 3 years.

The requirements for obtaining 3 year Work Permits in Beijing are stringent and issuance will still be at the discretion of the authorities in China, provided also that certain supporting documents are valid for the whole 3 year period.

The supporting documents which are required to be valid for 3 years include –

1.       The employment contract,

2.       The applicant”s passport and

3.        Employer”s business licence (or Industrial and Commercial Registration Certificate).

Please, however, note that Residence Permits in Beijing will continue to be issued for no longer than 12 months, and would therefore still need to be renewed annually for an assignee holding a 3 year Work Permit.


Short Term Work Permits

China has also introduced Short Term Work Permits for a period of up to 90 days for the following circumstances –

1.       Visiting a business partner to accomplish certain technical, scientific, research or guidance work in China.

2.       Training for sporting-related purposes

3.       Shooting a film, including both documentaries and commercials

4.       Participating in a fashion show as a model

5.       Giving a commercial performance

6.       Other activities at the discretion of authorities

All other activities involving short term assignments in China can still be completed by utilizing a Chinese Business Visa.

The application procedures for Short Term Work Permits will involve –

1.       Acquiring an Employment License and “Approval for Short-Term Employment for Foreigners working in China” from the Ministry of Labour.

2.       These approvals will then allow for issuance of an Invitation Letter.

3.       These items in turn support an application for a Work Permit from a Consulate or Embassy of China.

4.       Following entry, the holder of the visa may either use that visa to work for a period of up to 30 days or, if their period of employment is longer, they must acquire a Residence Permit in-country for up to 90 days.


If you have any questions about the new work permits for China, please contact us.

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