China’s Expert Bureau Announces Relaxed Shanghai Work Permit Requirements

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • The Chinese government has relaxed eligibility requirements for certain Work Permit applicants in Shanghai
  • Changes apply to technological and specialty occupation, special expert and foreign innovative entrepreneur Work Permits
  • Age, minimum work experience and educational requirements have been adjusted to attract more skilled foreign workers
  • R Visa validity has been extended to 10 years


To attract more skilled foreign workers, the Chinese government has relaxed eligibility requirements and certain rules for Shanghai Work Permit applicants.

What are the Changes?

The Chinese government has modified eligibility requirements for certain foreign nationals, especially those employed in scientific occupations, to attract more foreign talent to the country. Additionally, the government is increasing enforcement measures for Work Permit applicants in its Employer Trust Program.

Who is Affected?

The change affects foreign nationals employed in technological and specialty occupations, along with special experts and foreign innovative entrepreneurs.

Scientific and Technological Occupations

Foreign nationals applying for a Work Permit in a scientific or technological occupation will benefit from a relaxed age limit. Applicants age 60 or older may now apply for the permit. Additionally, individuals may now be eligible for the Work Permit with less than two years’ worth of work experience. Applicants are also eligible for a Work Permit with a two-year validity compared to the previous one-year maximum validity. 

New qualification criteria has also been announced for Category B and Category C Work Permits. Applicants who are not eligible to apply for a Category A Work Permit may still apply for a Category B or Category C Work Permit on their employee’s behalf if they provide a Commitment Letter to waive the clean criminal record for the employee’s application.

Foreign nationals who have a part-time occupation with any type of Work Permit can work with another employer and launch a business in Shanghai after obtaining pre-approval and submitting supporting documentation to the appropriate local immigration authority.

Additionally, foreign nationals who are applying for an R Visa will now benefit from an extended validity of 10 years. Previously, the R Visa had a maximum validity of five years.

Innovative and Entrepreneurial Occupations

The Expert Bureau has created an easier entry path for entrepreneurial occupations by relaxing eligibility requirements. Applicants are now eligible to apply if they are age 60 or older and if they have less than two years’ worth of prior work experience in their field.

Special Foreign Experts

Eligibility requirements have also been expanded for special foreign experts who do not otherwise qualify for a Category A Permit. Foreign nationals may now apply for a special expert Work Permit if they are under age 70 and either hold a general foreign vocational qualification, have a skill or area of expertise that is needed in Shanghai, or possess other international vocational qualifications.

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

Along with the changes above, the government has also increased enforcement in the Employer Trust Program. Applicants should make sure to submit authentic documentation for the program. Applicants may also now supply a Commitment Letter instead of tax documents, legalized documents, and other documentation that is generally required for Work Permit applications.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.