CHINA TOPIX

Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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China Looks to do Away With Double Work Permit Visa

A foreign affairs policeman helps a U.S. citizen to print his fingerprints.

(Photo : Getty images) A foreign affairs policeman helps a U.S. citizen to print his fingerprints, which will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to verify if he has a criminal record, as part of the procedure to get long term residency visa in China.

China is set to launch a single foreign work permit to do away with the double work permit visa system that is currently being used. The government believes this would aid foreign workers and is a move that fits the world's second largest economy.

"The unification eliminates the replicated application hurdle and improves communication aiming to better serve overseas talent coming to work in China," said the head of the State Administration of Foreign Experts and Affairs, Zhang Jianguo.

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He explained that not only is the new system aimed at attracting skilled professionals to China, but would help those who wish to be a part of the country's development.

The current system allows foreigners to apply for two types of work permits; an employment license for foreigners and a foreign expert work permit.

The permits would be issued by the Ministry of Human Resources, and the Social Security and State Administration of Foreign Experts respectively.

"Legally, it is hard to tell which category an applicant belongs to," said Liu Guofu, a professor of immigration law at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

Liu noted that the current system is based on a growing economic status, but the single work permit appreciates and creates room for talent outside China.

"The old rule is more likely a product of a planned economy, and the new one is market driven," he said.

According to China Daily, a trial of the new work permit system would soon begin in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin among other locations.

Preparations for the trial are set to begin in October with activities like staff training and promotions taking priority. The new system is scheduled to kick off on November 1.

A guiding manual would be issued to instruct foreigners on how to acquire the permit. It would entail basic things such as the applicant requirements, basic procedures, and the review time. 

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