Chinese new work permit policy  “Foreigner’s Work Permit” (FWP) will be start from 1st April 2017.

chinese working viza

According to new policy, the old “Alien Employment Permit” and old “Foreign Expert Certificate” will combine to one named “Foreigner’s Work Permit” (FWP).

Purported to be a “simplification” of the work permitting process, the new regulation merges the current work permit application process with the rare “foreign expert” work permit in an effort to standardize the regulation of foreign workers.

The report also touts a reduction in paperwork for the application process, without offering too much detail.

More significantly, the system appears to be designed to limit certain types of foreigners from receiving working papers, and perhaps will result in the thinning out of current work permit holders, as the article implies that even those currently holding a permit will be ranked.

What is ABC ranking?

The new policy will rank each of us into A, B, and C categories, using an opaque point system for the ranking, with the categories defined vaguely as follows:

A: Top talent
B: Professional talent
C: Unskilled workers or those working in the service industry

The Chinese report repeatedly mentions the catchphrase “Encourage the High End, Limit the Ordinary, Restrict the Low End” in reference to the new policy.

Scoring criteria

Citing Xinhua, an article in the Global Times. stated that the system will award points on the following:

  1. Current Salary in China
  2. Educational background
  3. Number of years of work experience in China
  4. Chinese language proficiency
  5. Age
  6. Location (with more points given to those that work in less developed regions)

While no specific methodology for the distribution of the points has been given, the article states that thosethat accumulate 85 points will be considered A-grade, those with 60 to 85 will be considered B-grade, and those with 60 and under will be C-grade.

While the announcement paid a lot of lip service to how to make it “easier” for foreigners to work in China and how to make China a more attractive place for foreign talent, precious little detail was offered on what’s being done to improve the things that would actually motivate expats to consider China as a place to prosper: items such as tax policies, the availability of healthcare, and quality of life issues such as clean air and water and food safety.

Truth be told, a more restrictive work permitting process would not be unusual or unfair for China to pursue at this time. In fact, in comparison to Chinese in the US, expats still have it relatively easy in terms of obtaining proper working papers.

Scoring Quiz

So are you a Grade-A expat? We have no idea what the points system actually will be, but just for fun, here’s a purely speculative quiz for you to determine just how desirable you are:

1. Your Salary in China   
0-10k: 6 points
10-30k: 12 points
30k and above: 16 points

2. Your Educational background    
Degree from no-name university: 6 points
Degree from world Top 200 university: 12 points
Ivy League and Equivalent: 16 points

3. Number of years of work experience in China    
0-2 years: 6 points
2-4 years: 12 points
4-up: 16 points

4. Chinese language proficiency    
HSK 1 or below: 6 points
HSK 2-4: 12 points
HSK 5-above: 16 points

5. Your Age    
Under 25 or over 60: 6 points
46-60: 12 points
25-45: 16 points

6. Your Location
First-Tier Cities: 6 points
Second-Tier Cities: 12 points
Middle of Nowhere: 16 points

Answer

Under 60 points (Grade C):
Shame! Your presence hurts the feelings of the Chinese people. Consider relocating to under-developed country who will be impressed with your mediocrity.

60 to 85 points (Grade B):
With hard work, you might one day receive an A grade. Move to rural Gansu and Improve your Chinese with the locals, and try not to age out in the process.

Over 85 points (Grade A):
Congratulations, you’re a Grade-A expat! Your glorious presence will earn you entry to marathon 12-hour government policy seminars, honorary placement as an unpaid English expert on the City Civilization Committee, and qualify you for permanent “friend pricing” on all official goods.