China: Labour Regulation
There is no separate work permit as such; the different types of visa cover various working situations. The Z Visa will normally allow an applicant a 30 days' stay during which the application can be made for a longer stay, usually under a D Visa. In most cases, the applicant (having fulfilled the quite onerous documentation requirements, including submission of the employer's business license) will have to leave China to wait for the longer-stay visa (temporary residence permit) to be issued. It will have to be renewed annually. Executives with companies having paid-up capital of more than USD3m may find it possible to stay in China while waiting for their longer term permits. The cost of the application process is likely to be in the region of RMB2,000.
The complication and expense of the application process for a temporary residence permit amply explains why people use the F visa route whenever they can.