What does an employer need to do to employ a foreigner in the PRC?

The PRC employer will normally need to get the following documents:

  • Work Permit/Representative Card - This should be obtained in advance from the local PRC labour authority (see the Bitesize article dated 12 November 2009 for the application of work permit). If the foreigner will work as the Chief Representative or a general representative in a PRC representative office of a foreign company, a representative card instead of work permit is required.
  • Work Visa Notification - This can be obtained by the employer from the local PRC Bureau of Commerce.
  • Work Visa (Z Visa) - The foreign employee needs to apply for this work visa from the relevant PRC embassy or consulate in the country where the employee is from.
  • Work Certificate - This is a follow-up process with the local PRC labour authority, which must be completed within 15 days after the foreign employee's entry into the PRC upon a work visa.
  • Residence Permit - The foreign employee needs to apply for a residence permit from the local PRC public security authority within 30 days after his/her entry upon a work visa.

Note: The list above can vary for different job types. So, for example, to work as a journalist in the PRC requires a materially different process.

What is the legal process for obtaining of the documents above?

The whole process generally includes the following steps:

Before entry into the PRC upon a Z visa:

  1. Application of work permit/representative card
  2. Application of work visa notification
  3. Application of work visa

After entry into the PRC upon a Z visa:

  1. Temporary residence registration - which should be done within 24 hours after the foreigner's entry into the PRC, with the local police station or hotel where the foreigner resides in
  2. PRC health exam
  3. Application of work certificate
  4. Application of residence permit

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