Shanghai offers foreigners easier access to work permits

(Xinhua)Updated : 2016-11-04

Shanghai on Wednesday issued its first work permit since the city initiated a pilot program to simplify applications for work permit for foreigners.

Joaquim Nassar, the French dean of SJTU-ParisTech Elite Institute of Technology at Shanghai Jiaotong University, was the first recipient of the new work permit.

"The application process is very smooth, free of surprises," he said.

He said the application process went exactly as stated.

Wang Haiyan, section chief with the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Foreign Expert Affairs, said the new application process had cut the application formalities in half. Shanghai hopes the new process will help attract more top talent.

Shanghai was among the first group of Chinese cities to pilot the new process, on November 1. The program unifies the previous two permits, one for "foreign employees" and another for "foreign experts," into one single "foreigners' work permit."

For foreigners like Nassar, who is considered a top talent, can enjoy a "green path," which exempts the formalities of certain checks, such as a criminal record, job qualification and degree certificates. They also only have to wait five days to get a permit, compared with an average of 10 days for others.

The pilot was first announced by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs in early September, covering Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Sichuan and Ningxia, from October 2016 to March 2017.

The practice will be applied nationwide in April 2017.