A trial program to test the issuance of a single, unified work permit for foreigners－replacing the current system under which two government entities have issuing authority－is expected to ease the burden of getting work in Shanghai for highly skilled expats, starting in October.
The trial was highlighted in a recently released notice about further deepening of measures to attract more foreign talent to speed up the development of the scientific and technological innovation hub.
Until now, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs has been responsible for issuing a certificate qualifying some individuals to work in China; local labor bureaus issued their own work licenses to authorize others.
In the pilot program, highly skilled applicants will not need to submit applications before entering the country, and only need to complete an online application after being recruited to work in Shanghai.
Expats who have applied at least twice for a one-year work permit will be eligible for a five-year work permit, making the process more convenient.
In July 2015, 20 measures including 12 released by the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau reduced complexity for highly skilled overseas passport holders. Also, the length of an overseas talent residence permit was extended to 10 years, opening Shanghai’s door wider to the world.
“We retain the core spirit of creating an environment for talent to grow and explore innovation, in order to shape the city into a cluster of global innovative talent by 2020,” said Chen Hao, deputy director of the organization department of the municipal government.
Apart from looser application requirements for work permits, the more open and efficient overseas talent policy will allow the staff of foreign work teams to apply for permanent residence directly.
High-level workers in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone who qualify will be recommended by the administrations of the zones for permanent residency.
Investment companies, regional company headquarters, and research and design centers registered in the two zones will also be able to recruit new graduates from world-class universities to work in Shanghai.
“It will encourage employers to fill positions with better-fitting talent, especially those international students who may add value and fresh thoughts, to compete with local talent in the Chinese job market,” said Pete Chia, managing director of BRecruit China, a recruitment service provider in Asia.
Sadik Senturk, a 32-year-old Turkish project manager at a consulting company in Shanghai, said: “I will apply for a green card for the sake of my son, who just turned 2 years old and will be enrolled in the education system like a local child.
“I hope the lower requirements for permanent residence and expanded benefits will narrow the gap between green card holders and local residents.”
Senturk is also applying for a residence permit based on talent.