China Desk

New immigration policy for foreigners working in China

By september 25, 2019juni 3rd, 2021No Comments

Chinese permanent residence permit is widely regarded as among the more hard “green-card” to be obtained worldwide. But the country has recently relaxed its immigration rules, lowering the threshold for to attract more highly skilled overseas workers applicants.

As of the 1st of August this year, 12 new immigration rules took effect, not only on the application for permanent residency, but also opening the door further to allow more foreigners to apply for a long term visa.

  1. Permanent residence permit

Previously, the application requirements for a green card were notoriously hard to meet; for example such requirements as being a foreign expert in high-level positions in government departments or laboratories involved in “key national projects” promoting China’s economic, scientific and technological development, having made outstanding contributions of special importance to China, or having made a large direct investment of over US$ 500,000 in China.

But as of August 1st, overseas workers who work in regular companies, without holding high-level positions, are eligible to apply for a permanent residency permit – as long as the applicant complies with the following: The applicant has held a job in China for four years in a row; has been a resident for at least six months each year; whose annual income is higher than six times the annual average worker’s wage – approx. RMB 75,000 per year – in their Chinese city of residence; and the annual individual income tax the applicant pays shall not be less than 20% of the annual average worker’s income in China.

  1. Long term working visa

Under the old rules, work permits and residence permits for foreigners are usually valid for no more than two years. Under the new policy, foreigners can apply for a residence permit with a validity period of up to 5 years. The requirements are as follows:

  • The foreign talents must work in key domestic development industries, or a part of innovative and entrepreneurial projects/ teams;
  • Foreigners with significant contributions to national focus industries/project may recommend foreign members and research assistants of the work team they lead to apply for long-term visas or five-year residence;
  • If the residence permit for work for more than one year has been granted twice and there is no violation of laws and regulations, the third application for a residence permit for work, will last five-year.


  1. Student residence permit

Foreign international students – who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree or above in Chinese top domestic colleges and universities, and are engaged in innovation and entrepreneurial activities in China after their graduation, can apply for a two to five years residency permit for innovation jobs and entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, foreign students who graduated from internationally renowned universities and who have come to China for innovation and entrepreneurial activities within two years after graduation can apply for a two-year residence permit.

The new immigration policies are aimed at encouraging foreigners to explore business in China and attract foreign talents. To apply for a permanent residence permit or long term working permit, it’s important to get proper legal advice. Our China desk is ready to give a professional opinion and provide necessary legal assistance.



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