Shanghai relaxes rules for foreign talent

Li Qian
Foreign scientific and technological researchers as well as new PhD graduates in science, engineering, agriculture and medicine are now classed as top talent.
Li Qian
Shanghai relaxes rules for foreign talent
Ti Gong

More foreigners are being regarded as top talent to support the city’s innovative development.

Foreign workers are classified into three categories in China — A for “top talent,” B for “professional talent” and C for “unskilled workers."

Besides global entrepreneurs and leading scientists, foreign scientific and technological researchers as well as new PhD graduates in science, engineering, agriculture and medicine are also classed as top talent, according to new regulations released on Monday by the Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

They can apply for an R visa, the employment visa issued to foreign high-end and much-needed talent, and can enjoy favorable policies such as simplified application procedures.

Foreign scientific and technological researchers are also allowed to work part-time in China, but the part-time job should be related to their full-time one.

In addition, foreigners who invest or engage in local innovative businesses can enjoy a relaxation in the rules covering age, academic degrees and work experience when they apply for their first work permit.

Shanghai is also in need of highly skilled foreigners who hold international vocational certificates.

To attract them, the city has relaxed the age limit to 70, and they can get a work permit valid for at least two years.

In February 2020, the city expanded its online work permit application services for more foreign employees to avoid them gathering as well as to encourage them to stay during the pandemic.

The online services had been limited to top talent, but now also benefit professional talent and unskilled workers.

There are 215,000 foreigners working in Shanghai, accounting for 23.7 percent China’s total and topping the country in numbers. Shanghai has also been the favorite city for foreigners on the Chinese mainland for the eighth consecutive year.

In April 2017, China launched a new work permit system for foreigners. By the end of February this year, the city had issued more than 270,000 work permits, with more than 18.5 percent issued to top talent, becoming the top in China.

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