Supporting Shanghai as a Technology & Innovation Hub
Shanghai local government pioneered new visa rules and residence permit requirements on July 1, 2015. The regulations are a response to President Xi Jinping’s vision to make Shanghai a global destination for scientific excellence and technological innovation. According to the Pudong Exit-Entry Administration of Public Security Bureau, once fully established these new policies will ease visa processing for talented individuals and be essential in developing Shanghai into a technology and innovation hub. Many of the new policies encourage and support innovative companies, entrepreneurs and investment, high-level talent and top graduates to pursue long term commitments in Shanghai.
The following are highlights of the changes in regulation:
Accelerated on-boarding with visa application process:
Visas are an inconvenience for expatriate workers everywhere and China is no exception. The change in regulations and lowering of application criteria aim to provide visas with ease and accelerate the on-boarding process when expatriates begin their new jobs in Shanghai.
Foreign personnel who have received a job offer in Shanghai can apply for the Z-visa on arrival provided all the correct documentation is provided. This process is available at Pudong and Hongqiao International Airports, and may be extended to other entry ports at a later stage. Prior to this update, applicants were expected to visit their consulate and return home to upgrade their visa status.
More market-oriented methods in qualifying permanent and long term residency
Work Class Residence Certificate (5-Year): To assist in the retention of expat talent and further stimulate investment in Shanghai as an Innovation Center, the most recent changes will relax regulations for those seeking residence permits in China. If the applicant has previously renewed their residence permit twice, upon the third renewal they are now eligible for a 5-year residence permit. This will cut down time and resources expended on previous annual processes. The age limit of 60 has also been removed from visa requirements, to allow for more experienced professionals to consider a long term commitment to China.
Under the following circumstances, foreigners can apply for the 5-year permit:
- Person holding the Shanghai Residence Card B valid for 5-years
- Senior leaders in companies or legal representatives
- Person who invests in an enterprise in Shanghai and is the legal representative of said enterprise
- Person who has applied for a Work Class Residence Certificate in Shanghai twice previously
Talent Visa (R): Shanghai Science and Technology Commission have compiled a list of 3,500 designated companies classified as innovative and whose foreign employees qualify as ‘talent’ or experts in their field. Those that meet the criteria can also apply for the new 5-year work permit and after 3 years working in Shanghai can apply for the permanent residence permit. This includes recruitment by Chinese Government, or those recognized by Shanghai Municipality.
Under the following circumstances, talent can apply for the 5-year permit:
- Province (municipality) – level special talent or celebrity
- Academic or scientific research leader, researcher or teacher with senior title
- High-tech talent in a term of service for 5 plus years
Permanent Residence Permit as a Person who has Obtained Employment: Regardless of job title or company, high earning foreign personnel are eligible for permanent residency (China Green Card) under the following circumstances:
- Has been working in Shanghai for four consecutive years, and the period of physical residence in China each year is 6 months or more
- The annual income from salary before taxes for the 4 consecutive years should be over 600,000RMB
- The individual income tax paid annually should be 120,000RMB or more
- Must be recommended by current employer
Accommodating housekeeping expectations
Personnel Affairs Resident Permit (Indicating Housekeeping Service): To accommodate lifestyle expectations, housekeeping staff or assistants employed by certain residence permit holders can accompany their employer to Shanghai. Foreign residents who meet one of the following conditions can apply for the Personnel Affairs Resident Permit (Indicating Housekeeping Service):
- Foreign housekeeping personnel hired by those who have obtained permanent resident permit.
- Foreign housekeeping personnel hired by high level talent and holding R-Visa with working class resident permit.
Fostering locally educated talent and entrepreneurship
Personnel Affairs Resident Permit (Indicating Venture): Shanghai will support fresh graduates by allowing application for two-year residence permits upon graduation. This policy applies to foreign nationals graduating from top Chinese universities and can be utilized with internships or for alumni with intentions of investment or starting their own businesses. For ventures detailed proof of investment in business parks or incubators must be shown along with business license.
Private Affairs Visa (S): Entrepreneurs entering china can apply for a 30-day Private Affairs visa upon arrival in Shanghai. This can later be converted to a Z-Visa (if required) at one of Shanghai’s international airports (see above). Thorough business documentation and license must be provided.
The new set of visa policies is currently applicable to employees of companies registered in Pudong New District. However, they are expected to be promulgated throughout Shanghai in the coming months.
- New policies aim to ease visa application processing and facilitate growth of Shanghai as an innovative hub
- Foreign professionals can apply for permanent residence as a ‘high earner’ or employed by a ‘designated innovative company’
- Special talent and investors can apply for a five-year residence permit
- Housekeeping staff and assistants can apply for a Personal Affairs Permit to accompany their employer
- Visas can now be issued at Pudong and Hongqiao Airports for new Work (Z) Visa applicants
- Entrepreneurs entering China can be issued with a 30-day Private Affairs (S) Visa
- Foreign graduates from top Chinese universities can apply for two-year residence permits
For a comprehensive list of qualifications and formalities please visit: www.police.pudong.com.cn
To learn more about the AmCham Shanghai Human Resources Committee, please visit their website.