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China's Free Trade Zones To Ease Work Permit Rules

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
03 October, 2016

China intends to ease work permit rules in nine provinces, including in Shanghai, to attract international talent, in particular to China's expanding number of free trade zones.

Work permit arrangements will be streamlined with the creation of a single unified work permit from November 1, 2016. The application process will also be simplified, including abolishing the requirement for workers to submit a personal resume.

The new unified work permit is a pilot scheme launched for expatriates by the Chinese Government in nine provinces and cities, including Shanghai. The intention is to roll-out the unified work permit across China following the end of the pilot next April.

The Shanghai Free Trade Zone has recently released information on the development. It said it intends to attract students from foreign and local universities to the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone and the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone. It said regional headquarters of transnational companies, investment companies, and foreign-funded research and development centers registered in one of the two zoneswill be allowed to employ graduates from leading foreign universities regardless of whether they have work experience.

The new policy will also lower requirements for foreigners involved in scientific and technological innovation to obtain a Shanghai Residence Card B, which enables holders to enjoy certain citizen benefits.

The city will provide extra benefits for the card holders, such as exemption from housing property tax for their only residence, allowing their children aged from 3 to 12 to study at local schools, and participation in a local housing provident fund.

Foreign students at Shanghai universities will also find it easier to work in the city, with the announcement that graduating students without work experience will be able to find employment in Shanghai's two free trade zones.

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