Shanghai, Ready to Welcome More Foreign Talents

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Shanghai, the city with the highest number of foreign talents in China, has implemented a series of new initiatives since March 2021 with intention of attracting more foreign talents to work in the city, by offering more convenient and friendly practice guidelines in terms of work permit application and foreign exchange conversion with employment income.


4.0 Version of “Virtual” Approval Policy for Foreigners’ Work Permit applications is launched

In March 2021, Shanghai has published the Version 4.0 of “Virtual” Approval Policy for Foreigners’ Work Permit applications, which has provided a series of more friendly practice guidelines, including but not limited to relaxing the restrictions in age, educational background and working experiences in work permit applications, as well as permitting part-time job taking for foreign science and technology talents, etc.. Certain eye-catching policies are summarized as follows:

 

For foreign science and technology talents

  • For talents to be employed by Chinese companies meeting certain criteria, restrictions in age, educational background and working experiences will be relaxed in work permit application and work permit for at least 2 years will be granted.
  • For talents who are not eligible to category A  work permit and to be employed by Chinese companies with good credit rating, criminal records can be replaced by self-declaration and commitment.
  • Taking part-time job and starting-up business are permitted.


Note: As the most commonly seen criteria, in Shanghai foreign talents who are applicable for category A work permit application should have annual employment remuneration of more than RMB600,000 with annual individual income tax payment of more than RMB120,000.


For foreign innovative and entrepreneurial talent

  • Restrictions in age, education background and working experiences will be relaxed when work permit is applied for the first time.
  • Business conditions, tax and social security payments should be reported for work permit extension for talents with actual business premise. Extension for those without actual business premise will be granted where appropriate.


For foreign high-skilled talents

 

For foreign high-skilled talents who are not applied to category A work permit application but meeting the following conditions, restrictions in age (below 70 years of age in principle) and educational background will be relaxed. And work permit for more than 2 years can be granted:

  • Holding a national general foreign vocational qualification certificate
  • Skilled talent in urgent need with overseas skill certificate
  • Holding other international general vocational skills certificates (such as ACCA)

 

Fast Pass for foreign exchange conversion with foreign talents’ employment income launched all over Shanghai

Since March 2021, foreign talents can apply to convert and remit foreign exchange with their remuneration income at banks in Shanghai by providing the Fast Pass to be issued by the relevant authority and their passports only, with no need to provide further supporting documents such as labor contracts and tax payment certificates.


In order to get the Fast Pass, employers and foreign talents should meet certain basic requirements, e.g., the employer should have actual business premises, pay taxes and social security according to Chinese regulations, no bad credit records; the salaries for foreign talents should exceed the local minimum salary. The foreign talents should be over 18 years of age with good health and without criminal records. They should have legal salary income in Shanghai with determined employer.


Our View

In practice, there still exist details to be further specified in terms of application of the above policies, e.g., the concrete identification standards for foreign science and technology talents and foreign innovative and entrepreneurial talents etc.. And the Fast Pass for foreign exchange conversion with foreign talents’ employment income has more general applicability which has benefited lots of foreigners working in Shanghai. That may be the reason why it has been launched all over Shanghai so soon after 3 months of trial implementation in Pudong New Area.


With the new policies, Shanghai has improve the business and living environment for both companies who employ foreign talents as well as foreign talents who work in Shanghai. It is suggested to carry out comprehensive evaluation of the employer and foreign talent’s qualities in a professional view, in a plan of employing foreign talents, so as to fully and timely enjoy the preferential treatments for foreigners to work in Shanghai.

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