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PRC Labour Law - Bitesize: Can a foreigner simultaneously work for two or more PRC employers in Mainland China?

12 August 2010
Mayer Brown JSM Newsletter

Generally, no. But there may be exceptions subject to the local regulations of various localities of China. For example, in Shanghai, such multiple employment arrangement is permitted if the foreigner concerned is seconded by the overseas employer to work for several PRC subsidiaries within the same group of companies as the overseas employer. There are also exceptions for particular types of work where a foreigner can work for a number of different employers in the PRC (e.g a foreign journalist may work for more than one employer in Mainland China after going through certain processes).

If a PRC employer wishes to employ a foreigner, can it rely on the employee's work permit obtained in respect of his former employer?

No. The employer specified in the foreigner's work permit must be identical to the entity he/she actually works for in Mainland China. Therefore, if the foreigner changes job in Mainland China, his/her original work permit must be cancelled and the new employer must apply for a new work permit for him/her.

However, the rule above may vary for different job types, e.g. journalist, which is subject to guidelines issued by the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, rather than the relevant local Human Resources and Social Security Bureaus.

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