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How to Apply For a Work Permit Category B in China

On this page, we will explain how to apply for a Category B work permit in China, the eligibility rules, and how to apply. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.

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For skilled and professional workers, the employment and business opportunities available in China are almost limitless. The economy is booming in China, and many businesses are looking internationally to fill skilled vacancies. In response, the Chinese immigration authorities have made efforts to streamline the process of securing a work visa for China, including putting in place an online application system. If you have made the decision to move to China for employment, it is essential that you choose the correct work permit for your needs. China, like many countries, offers a wide range of permits catering for different situations and requirements. On this page, we will explain how to apply for a Category B work permit in China, the eligibility rules, and how to apply.

What is a Category B work permit for China?

On 1st April 2017, the Chinese government introduced a new immigration route for migrant workers to replace the outgoing “Alien Employment Permit” and old “Foreign Expert Certificate”.

Under this system, there are three main classifications of work permits in China:

  • Category A: for high-level specialist workers
  • Category B: for professional workers
  • Category C: for lower-skilled workers

The focus of this page is on Category B, which is intended for professionals with a minimum of a degree-level qualification and at least two years of work experience. The majority of foreign nationals working in China hold a category B permit (accounting for over 60% of all work permit holders). For this reason, there are typically much fewer available vacancies for category B level roles in China compared to category A vacancies.

Am I Eligible For A Category B Work Permit In China?

To make a successful application for a Category B work permit, you must fit one of the following criteria:

  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree + two years of work experience in a relevant field, + be employed in one of the following role types:
    • Management, technical, educational, or scientific research
    • A collaborative role involving a Chinese and overseas government department or corporation.
    • Employees working for an overseas international business with an office in China
    • Employees working for an overseas international company in a senior role such as a chief executive, and representatives of foreign industries
  • Hold internationally recognized qualifications and/or certifications required for a role for which there is insufficient labour available in China.
  • Teach a foreign language – applicants must also have at least a bachelor’s degree and two years of teaching experience (work experience is not needed for applicants with a degree in education or in the language they plan to teach in China)
  • Persons earning over four times the average local salary in China.
  • Those who score at least between 60-84 points on the Chinese immigration points-based system criteria (see below for more details);

The points-based system awards points for the following attributes:

Annual Salary (In Rmb)

450,000 and above 20 points

350,000 - 449,999 17 points

250,000 - 349,999 14 points

150,000 - 249,999 11 points

70,000 - 149,999 8 points

50,000 - 69,999 5 points

Less than 50,000 0 points

Level Of Education

Doctorate 20 points

Master’s degree 15 points

Bachelor’s degree 10 points

Work experience

One additional point for every year above two years (to a maximum of 20 points)

Two years 5 points

Less than two years 0 points

Annual working time

Above nine months 15

6 - 9 months 10

3 - 6 months 5

Less than 3 months 0

Level Of Chinese Language

Bachelor’s or Higher degree on Chinese study (Major) 5 points

HSK 5 and above 5 points

HSK 4 4 points

HSK 3 3 points

HSK 2 2 points

HSK 1 1 points

Age

18 - 25 years old 10 points

26 - 45 years old 15 points

46 - 55 years old 10 points

56 - 60 years old 5 points

Above 60 years old 0 points

Graduated From A Globally Recognized University Or Experience In A Top 500 Company

Graduated from Globally recognized top 100 university 5 points

Work experience in Fortune Global 500 company 5 points

You own patent or intellectual property 5 points

Continuously work in China for over five years 5 points

If you are unsure if you are eligible for a Category B work permit for China, speak to a solicitor specializing in Chinese immigration policy who will be able to assess this for you.

How Can I Apply For A Category B Foreigner Work Permit For China?

There are several steps to securing a Category B work permit, as follows (this process below assumes you are applying from outside China):

  • Apply online for a Foreigner’s Work Permit (FWP) – this must be done before applying for a visa (a visa is needed to allow you to enter China on arrival at the border). The employer in China needs to start this part of the process using the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs online system. They will need to upload their business license, organization code certificate, registration form, and industry license documents. Copies of the employee’s passport, a medical exam report, passport photo, reference letter, criminal record check, educational qualification certificates, and Chinese language test certificate will need to be provided and uploaded electronically.
  • Employee completes a Z-Class Visa application form. This should be completed online and then printed. You will also need a recent passport-size photo, your current valid passport, your Work Permit from your Chinese employer, and other required documents.
  • Employee takes both the visa application and their work permit to their local embassy; if approved, they will then be given their visa to travel to China.

What Do I Need To Do Once In China?

On arrival, you will need to register with the police within 24 hours. To do this, take your passport, proof of accommodation, and your landlord’s contact details to a local police station where you are living in China. You may also need to get a medical check-up if your medical exam report is not written or translated into Chinese.

Assuming you have completed the above steps and have your work permit/certificate, you will need to register for your residence permit. As a resident of China, you will have the permission you need to stay in the country for the purposes of work in accordance with your work permit.

Can I Change To A Different Employer Once In China?

It may be possible to work for a different employer than the one you originally worked for once in China, but this requires a new work permit application to be submitted and approved. The current employer has to cancel the existing work permit – this must be done within ten days of the employment coming to an end. As part of the new application, a letter proving that the employee’s work permit has been cancelled should be included. If the employee is staying within the same occupation, their current visa can continue to be used. If there is a change of occupation, the employee may be required to leave China and apply for a new visa. Again, if you are unsure, speak to an immigration lawyer.

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"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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