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PRC Labour Law - Bitesize: If a foreigner will not be employed by any PRC company, and will frequently travel to the PRC as an employee of a foreign company to deal with business in the PRC, does he/she need to obtain a work permit from the PRC authority?

6 August 2010
Mayer Brown JSM Newsletter

If a foreigner will not be employed by any PRC company, and will frequently travel to the PRC as an employee of a foreign company to deal with business in the PRC, does he/she need to obtain a work permit from the PRC authority?

Generally, a foreigner who enters into the PRC for business does not need to obtain a work permit and work visa, and he/she can enter into the PRC upon a business visa.

However, the work permit and work visa are required if such foreigner will work in the PRC for three months (not stated to be continuously, but generally considered as being cumulatively) or more, unless he/she will act as an engineer or other professional under a sino-foreign technology transfer agreement.

In practice, the foreign company will need to have a related PRC entity to complete the relevant application and filling obligations, which are the same as those under a regular case of employment of foreigner in the PRC (see the Bitesize article dated 15 July 2010 for details).

If a foreign company has no legal entity in the PRC and needs to have its foreign employee frequently travel to the PRC for business development purpose, must the foreigner obtain a work permit to work in the PRC? If so, which entity should be responsible for completing the relevant application and filing obligations?

Yes, as long as the foreign employee works in the PRC for three months or more. In practice, the foreign company without any related company in the PRC may consider having a business partner fulfil the relevant application and filing obligations.

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