New Policies to Attract Foreign Talent to China in the Post-Epidemic Era

Released on 1st March, 2021: 

Notice on Further Improvement of Online Approval for Foreigner’s Work Permit in China (Version 4.0) to Attract Foreign Talents

In order to accelerate the building of Shanghai into a technological innovation center with global influence, in adherence to the guidelines of General Secretary Xi Jinping at the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the development and opening-up of Shanghai’s Pudong New Area, with the strong support of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, Shanghai is pioneering more open and more convenient policies for introducing foreign experts, giving full play to the autonomy of employers in selecting, evaluating and employing talents, while also reinforcing employers’ major responsibilities in employing foreign experts, and creating a world-class business environment that facilitates such employment. Matters related to online approval (Version 4.0) are as follows:

   1.   Increase efforts to introduce foreign scientific and technological talents

  • Relax the restrictions on age, academic degree or work experience 

to support the city’s efforts to introduce foreign scientific and technological talents, after recommendation and identification, the restrictions on age, education, and work experience for foreign scientific and technological talents hired by employers who meet the key tasks can be further relaxed. If the conditions are met, a one-time Foreigner’s Work Permit for more than 2 years will be issued.

  • Implement a “Notice + Pledge” System for those with No Criminal Record.

A “Notice + Pledge” system is implemented for foreign scientific and technological talents hired by employers with good credit who do not meet the standards of foreign high-end talents (Category A). Foreign scientific and technological talents can sign the ” Application Form for Foreigner’s Work Permit” and affirm that “I have no criminal record in my home country or abroad,” without having to submit additional non-criminal records or certification materials. Employers and foreigners should double-check the commitment’s content for authenticity.

  • Allow foreign scientific and technological talents working in Shanghai to work part-time.

If the employing unit submits a report to the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs), reapplying or changing the work permit is not required for foreign scientific and technological talents who are legally working in Shanghai if they need to work part-time in Shanghai, innovate, or start a business. However, the original employing unit’s consent must be obtained, and a written tripartite agreement must be signed with the original employing unit and the part-time unit to clarify their respective rights and obligations.

  • Expand scope of applicants for the Confirmation Letter for Foreign High-end Talents.

The conditions of application of the Confirmation Letter for Foreign High-end Talents are further extended. Foreign researchers participating in national task forces and young foreign talents, including recent doctoral graduates from key disciplines such as science, engineering, agriculture, and medicine, upon identification by the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs), may directly apply for the Confirmation Letter for Foreign High-end Talents according to relevant regulations and may apply for an R visa with a validity period of up to 10 years. 

   2.   Increase efforts to introduce foreign innovative entrepreneurial talents

To regulate innovative entrepreneurial talents in Shanghai, for foreign talents such as legal representatives making investments or innovative entrepreneurship and small investors, after an enterprise is legally established, limits in terms of age, academic degree, or work experience may be relaxed when they apply for their first work permit in China. For foreign investors who have a physical office in China, their work permits may be extended based on the operating status, taxes, and social security payments of their companies. Foreign investors with virtual registration shall submit all documents required, including but not limited to operating status, tax record, and social security payment, for an extension which is necessary according to the circumstances.

   3.   Increase efforts to introduce highly skilled foreign talent

To facilitate economic and social development in Shanghai and attract more foreign talents with special expertise to work in Shanghai, for those who are not up to the standards for Foreign High-end Talents (Category A) but meet one of the following three requirements, limits in terms of age, academic degree, or work experience may be further relaxed. In principle, they should be under 70 years of age. Those who are eligible may be granted a work permit valid for at least 2 years.

  • Possession of a general foreign vocational qualification

Foreign skilled talents who hold senior foreign vocational qualifications that are included in management under the national vocational qualification system may directly work in Shanghai, including management certificate and business administration certificate (excluding international language certificates). For other certificates, refer to the foreign vocational qualification certificate management platform.


  • Skilled talents urgently needed in Shanghai

After obtaining overseas skills certificates and with recommendation from competent authorities of the industries, foreign skilled talents who have the expertise and rich practical experience in production and service positions and are in line with the urgently needed occupations for the development of major industries in Shanghai may apply for a work permit. 

  • Hold other international vocational qualification

Talents holding other unspecified international vocational qualifications (such as ACCA certificate in financial management or international football coaching qualification) will be determined based on their employer’s qualifications, the shortage in the industry, the specialization demonstrated by the certificate, and the talents’ work experience and competence, etc.

   4.   Strengthening Interim and Ex-post Regulation and Verification

Examination and approval should strengthen credit management by gradually establishing and improving employer and foreign employee integrity files, as well as implementing a system of abnormal lists of false promises. Employers and foreigners should ensure the authenticity of the promises they submit, and work closely with the examination and approval to ensure that the interim and ex-post regulation and verification work of the appointment goes smoothly. The examination and approval have the authority to cancel the administrative decision in accordance with the law, suspend the employer, agency, and foreigner from handling the work permit business of foreigners arriving in China, and deal with violations of laws and regulations in accordance with the law for those who make false promises.

1st February, 2021 to 31st January, 2026:

1st March 2021:

Reducing document requirements for foreign currency conversion for foreign talents with Fast Pass in Shanghai

Financial institutions in Shanghai can now process foreign exchange purchase and remittance requests made by foreign talents who meet the following document requirements.

  • “Fast Pass” issued by the Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs for remuneration-related foreign currency conversion required by foreigntalents
  • Valid personal ID

Enterprises and individuals who meet the following requirements can apply for the Fast Pass:

  • The sponsoring enterprise should be registered in Shanghai, have physical business premises, and not have been engaged in any illegal or untrustworthy conduct.
  • Foreign talent should be hired by businesses for jobs that require specialised skills that cannot be found among local candidates.
  • The foreign talent’s wages should not be low than the Shanghai minimum wage.
  • The foreign talent must be at least 18 years old, have no criminal record, and be employed by the sponsoring enterprise.
  • The applicant should receive their salary in Shanghai.

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