Work Permit in China

Why is Work Permit Needed?

As stated by immigration laws, employees coming to work in China must have a proper China work visa and work permit. The work permit needs to be secured for employees and should be sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity.

About the China Job Market

Number of Expats

845,697

Popular Industries for Expats

Teaching, Trade/Commerce, IT/Tech, Writing/Media, Marketing, Engineering, Managerial Jobs, Hotel & Tourism 

Expat Job Websites

Laowaicareer, jobs.echinacities, expatjobschina

Types of China Work Visa

In China, they use a set of abbreviations along with letters and numbers to name various visa types. For example, some of the visas used in the country are: 

Z Visa:

The Z work visa in China is for workers planning to stay in the country for more than six months. 

X1/2 Visa:

This visa is applicable for students. The X1 is relevant for people planning to stay for more  than 180 days, while X2 means the duration is less than 180 days.   

J1/2 Visa:

This visa is issued to foreign journalists for staying for a specific duration in the country.    

M Visa:

This is a visa for business owners that allows a stay of 30 to 60 days.   

F Visa:

This visa is issued to exchange students, study tours, or visitors for a duration of 30 to 60 days.   

Requirements for a China Work Visa and by China Employers

Recently, China has acquired a more transparent and active process for foreign workers, which has further led to an increase in work permit applications in the country. The visa process is now more streamlined, and one can apply now with China work permit online application. However, the employers planning to hire foreign employees have to abide by the local laws and regulations for hiring employees outside the country. 

The basic requirements that an employee has to meet for getting a China work visa are:  

  • ~You have to be at least 18 years old with good health 
  • ~You must have a clear criminal record 
  • ~You should have a specified employer 
  • ~You should possess the required skills and work experience that meets the employer’s job requirements
  • ~You should have a valid passport and possess all the required travel documents

China Work Permit Application Process


  • ~Before applying for the China work visa (Z-visa), you need to have an official letter (Notification letter) from the Chinese authorities issued as proof that you are approved to work in China.
  • ~For the notification letter, one has to apply at the local Labor Bureau. This process takes at least 3-4 weeks. 
  • ~Now you can apply for a work permit in China for foreigners at the Chinese embassy located in your home country. 
  • ~Post getting a Z-visa, you will be approved to enter China. Once you enter China,  you have to take a medical examination and register your residence at the local police station. 
  • ~The last two steps involve replacing Z-visa with a working-purpose residence permit and applying for a Work Permit.

Required Documents from the Employee 

  • ~An original copy of the Diploma (a certificate issued by an educational institution on completion of a course of study) has to be submitted along with an authenticated and legalized copy 
  • ~An original copy of the Police Clearance Certificate that is authenticated and legalized 
  • ~A copy of work experience certificate which justifies at least 24 months of experience
  • ~A valid CV 
  • ~A Labor contract 
  • ~A Medical Report
  • ~A Police Registration form of residence 

Required Documents from the Employer 

  • ~A business license along with a certificate of approval 
  • ~A passport of the legal representative 
  • ~An authorized company stamp 

Classification of Work Permits 

The Chinese regulation has categorized the work permit into three categories - A - B - C. Each category is differentiated based on the qualifications and skills of each employee working in China: 

A: High-Level Experts 

The applications for Class A are approved faster than the other two categories. The Class A applicants are also given the leverage to not provide any Diploma or Police Clearance Certificate. In addition to this, only a Class A work permit allows employees above 60 years old. 

Requirements for Class A work permits  

  • ~You should have a salary of over 50,000 RMB/ month and work in Shanghai. 
  • ~You must be an international prize-winner in either of these fields - sciences, architecture, arts, sports, music, literary and industrial design. 
  • ~You must be selected for a profile by the China National Talent Import Plan. 
  • ~You must have a Doctor’s degree or higher issued by a Chinese University or from World top 500 universities. 

B: Professional workers 

Most of the applicants are qualified for the Class B work permit. It is limited to an age group between 18 and 60 years old. 

Requirements for Class B work permits  

  • ~You must have a Bachelor’s degree + 2 years of full-time work experience after completion of graduation.
  • ~You must hold a Master’s degree from a Chinese university or one of the top 100 universities in the World.

C: Low skilled workers 

Class C refers to the low-skilled profiles, which include only junior positions. It is issued to the employees between the age group of 18-60 years old. 

  • ~You must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher from a university located in Shanghai, or you’re employed by a company registered in the Zhangjiang High Tech Park or Shanghai FTZ. 
  • ~You must have a Master’s degree or higher issued from a Chinese university (score of at least 80/100 or B+/B). You must also be employed by a company that is registered in Shanghai. 
  • ~You must be an intern in Shanghai and part of the “French Intern 1000 Plan”. 

China Work Visa Point System 

The work permit point system in China determines the category in which your work permit application will be granted. 

Class A - score over 85 points 

Class B - score over 60 points 

The applicants have to score at least 60 points to get a Work Permit in China. 

Timeframe for Work Permit Application

After applying for the Z visa in your home country, you will be required to travel to China within 30 days. In a span of 15 days, the employee and the employer need to submit an application to the local labor & social security bureau to proceed and apply for the employment/work permit, which takes three days. One must get the work permit approved within 30 days of entering China. After that, it takes at least 4-6 weeks to secure the issued work permit. 

Work Permit Exceptions and Special Cases

While applying for the China work visa application form, your employees can also mention the number of entries they want - single, double, or multiple. For instance, returning from Hong Kong will be counted as a new entry requiring a double-entry or multiple-entry visa. On the other hand, if your employees are not planning to go abroad while in China, a single entry visa will be sufficient and also cost less. 

China Work Permit Fees 

The fees for the application and the issuance of a China work visa may differ according to your home country. It can cost approximately 1,000 to 1,500 CNY. The China work permit fees may also vary according to how fast you want it to be processed and whether you wish to apply in person or via mail. 

How Multiplier Will Help With Work Permit 

We’re a Global EOR solution having local entities in over 100+ countries. Our mission is to simplify the hiring process for companies like yours and give an easy platform to employ talent from across the globe. Our suite of HR solutions is a brainchild of our in-house experts, enabling us to offer end-to-end solutions to our users.   

Using our SaaS-based solution, you can request a China work permit. Our team of experts will manage the entire process, including the processing time, costs, document checklist, while keeping you informed about the whole process.

Enjoyed reading this?
Save it for future reference

Download PDF

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the highest-paying jobs in China?

These are some of the highest paying jobs in China: 

  • Advanced Financial Controller.
  • General Manager and Supervisor.
  • Senior Management of Hotels.
  • Loan Officer.
  • Foreign Bank Executive.
  • Mortgage Broker.
  • Manufacturing Director.
  • TV Stars.
Is multiple-entry allowed with Z-visa?

The Z visa allows only single-time entry. After arriving in China, one has to register them to the designated police station as required by the law within 30 days. Once the residence permit is issued, one will be allowed to have multiple entries.

Which visa is required for the work or student visa applicant’s family?

The family members of Z visa or X1 visa holders will be required to apply for the S1 visa. In Addition, a copy of the main applicant’s supporting paperwork like the Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit and Working Permit along with Admission Notice and Original proof of Kinship will be required.

Is it possible to apply for a tourist visa and later change it to a work visa?

No. Once entered into China, one cannot change the type of visa. Instead, you have to exit the country and apply for a new visa.

Can I work in China on a tourist visa?

No. To be eligible for working in China, you will require a China work visa (Z-visa) authorized by the Chinese authorities.

Need Reliable Help In Obtaining A Work Visa?

Get Expert Help Now

World’s Preferred EOR/PEO Platform for a Global Workforce

Get Expert Help Now