China: Relaxed Immigration Rules and Procedures Forthcoming for Foreign Workers in Shanghai

Summary

New immigration policies should make it easier for highly-skilled foreign nationals to obtain Permanent Residence status and Residence Permits, and will simplify various visa application procedures for investors and those starting businesses in Shanghai.

June 22, 2015


New immigration policies should make it easier for highly-skilled foreign nationals to obtain Permanent Residence status and will simplify various application procedures for investors and those starting businesses in Shanghai, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Public Security. The changes will be piloted starting July 1, 2015. There are also plans to implement relaxed eligibility and application procedures for foreign nationals and their dependents from Hong Kong and Macao to obtain Residence Permits in Shanghai.

Eased Eligibility Criteria for Permanent Residence and Residence Permits

Foreign nationals who have worked in Shanghai continuously for four years, have resided in China at least six cumulative months per year, and who meet annual income and income tax thresholds will be able to apply for Permanent Residence status. Currently, applicants must have resided in China for three cumulative years within the last four-year period.

Additionally, highly-skilled foreign nationals, as recognized by Shanghai authorities, will be able to transfer their Work-Type Residence status to Permanent Residence status after three years of work.

Foreign nationals working in Shanghai who have applied for a Work-Type Residence Permit twice successively and who have not been charged with violations of Chinese laws will be eligible for a Work-Type Residence Permit valid for five years.

On Arrival or In-Country Applications for R (Talent) Visa

Highly-skilled foreign nationals, as recognized by Shanghai authorities, will be able to obtain an R (Talent) Visa upon arrival or in China, or convert their entry visa to an R (Talent) Visa upon arrival and apply for a Work-Type Residence Permit in country.

Eased Residence Permit Eligible for Foreign Students

Upon graduation from Chinese educational institutions, foreign students will be able to apply for a two-year Residence Permit under the Private Affairs category to conduct internships or start businesses in Shanghai.

Improvements for Investors and Startups

Foreign investors planning to invest in Shanghai who do not obtain work permits abroad on time can obtain a Private Affairs visa upon arrival and then apply for a Residence Permit in country.

Visa Exemption Expansion

Lastly, the visa-free policy is expected to be extended from 72 hour-stays to 144 hour-stays and will be expanded to sea and river ports in the Yangtze River Delta and Shanghai, thus including cruise passengers.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Foreign investors and highly-skilled personnel should benefit from the relaxed eligibility criteria for Permanent Residence and eased application processes to be implemented in Shanghai. Immigration professionals are available to discuss upcoming changes in application procedures.

Source: Fragomen Worldwide