Shanghai to Introduce Visas on Arrival, Paths to Permanent Residency for Top Talent

Shanghai to Introduce Visas on Arrival, Paths to Permanent Residency for Top Talent
Jul 20, 2015 Translated by

Editor's Note: China is trying to attract top talent, especially in the fields of science and technology. With a large number of expats leaving the Middle Kingdom, Shanghai has lightened up regulations on residence permits and permanent residence, and has even introduced visas on arrival for top international talent. It is believed that these kind of new visa regulations will soon be put into place in other Chinese cities as well. This article, translated from two different articles from the Chinese media, outlines Shanghai's new improvements and additions to its residence permit and visa system.

The Shanghai Municipal Government recently released a new policy aiming to attract much-needed overseas talent to the city, especially foreign experts. The policy is titled, “Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the Personnel Working System and Promoting Innovation and Entrepreneurial Talent.”

With the new policy, the Shanghai government will reduce the conditions necessary for expats to obtain permanent residency and simplify the application procedure for permanent residency. The policy will also expand the scope of the R Visa meant for high-level personnel.

In terms of innovation and entrepreneurship, Shanghai will also make applying for a residence permit easier for foreign students who will work in Shanghai Free-Trade Zone or Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone or start a business in Shanghai after graduation. The government also hopes to simplify exit and entry procedures for foreigners by introducing a number of visas available on arrival in Shanghai in order to attract innovators to Shanghai.

Shanghai will also implement a policy to attract talented residents of Hong Kong and Macau to come work in Shanghai and settle with their families.

The city hopes to make the entire process easier for talented foreigners to obtain residence permits and will provide facilitation services to help out.

Here is an outline of Shanghai's new policies for permanent residence, visas on arrivals, and recent foreign graduates:

Reduced Conditions for Permanent Residence:

A) Those who have continuously worked in Shanghai for four years, spending at least six months every year in China, who have a stable job and housing, with an income and personal income tax that meet the required standards that have been recommended by their work units can apply for permanent residence in China.

B) High-level foreign talent recruited under either the central or the municipal government’s “Thousand People Plan” program can apply directly for the permanent residence permit through the Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau (a division of the Municipal Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs).

C) High-level foreign talent certified by the Shanghai municipal agency in charge of human resources management, or recruited by companies that are on the list of government accredited list of Shanghai high-tech and innovative companies can apply for a five year residence permit.  These candidates are not subject to the 60 year age limit. After three years of work, the candidates can then apply for permanent residence with the recommendation of their work unit.

Expanding the R Visa:

To facilitate the entry and stay of high-level foreign talents, those foreigner meeting the high-level talent criteria described in C) can apply for an R visa on arrival (at a Shanghai port of entry) and apply for a residence permit after their arrival. Foreigners visiting China on a different visa who meet the criteria for high-level foreign talent can apply to change their visa to an R visa or apply for a residence permit.

Foreign Students Working and Starting a Business in Shanghai:

A) Foreigners who have obtained advanced degrees from universities in Shanghai and will work in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone or Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone can apply directly for an “employment,” category residence permit with a certification letter from the management committee of Shanghai Free-Trade Zone or Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.

B) Foreign students who have graduated from a Chinese university with a bachelors degree or above who want to start a venture in Shanghai can apply for a two year private business residence permit. These students can apply for an “employment,” category residence permit if they are employed by another work unit during the two-year period. 

C) The government will gradually explore the idea of non-Shanghai foreign graduates starting business in Shanghai.

Simplifying Entry and Residence Permits to Attract Innovators and Entrepreneurs:

A) A foreigner who holds proof of a work permit to work in Shanghai can apply directly for a residence permit valid for one year or less. Now, in addition, foreigners can apply for a Z visa at a Shanghai port of entry and then apply for a residence permit after entering the country.

B) Foreigners who plan to invest in or start an innovative business in Shanghai can apply for a S2 private visa on arrival at a Shanghai port of entry with proof of investment or a business plan as well as proof of livelihood when arriving in Shanghai.  These foreigners can later apply for a “private business” residence permit.

C) To help foreign talent settle down in Shanghai, a new policy has been developed for talented individuals from Hong Kong and Macau and their families. High-level foreign talents who have already obtained a permanent residence permit or a working residence permit can apply for a “private business” residence permit for foreign housekeeping workers they hire.

D) The Shanghai residence permit system (B system) for foreign talent will be improved. The limits for B residence permits have been extended, and the longest permit that can be given is valid for 10 years. The criteria to obtain a B residence permit has also been reduced for those in high-tech and entrepreneurship.

Setting Up New Services:

A) Shanghai will establish a mechanism to handle Foreign Employment Permits and Foreign Expert Certificates. Qualified foreign talent applying for Foreign Expert Certificates will receive priority treatment.

B) A foreigner who has received two consecutive working residence permits and has committed no illegal acts can apply for a working residence permit valid for five years on their third application.

C) Shanghai will also set up a human resources and social security department to work with the relevant public security organs to thoroughly audit high-level personnel before approval.

Sources: The PaperThe Paper

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Keywords: Shanghai visa on arrival Shanghai permanent residence for foreigners


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Nov 02, 2015 08:32 Report Abuse



Let the flood of talents into Shanghai commence

Jul 25, 2015 12:24 Report Abuse



somewhat confusing....

Jul 24, 2015 14:24 Report Abuse



Wow, ECC is getting even more behind the times with "news" stories! This was announced nearly one month back.

Jul 22, 2015 23:14 Report Abuse



OH BLAH, BLAH, BLAH....DIFFERENT DAY, SAME OLD... YES, I AM SHOUTING! Props to JohnB and Chairman Cow..bang on the money!

Jul 21, 2015 05:14 Report Abuse



Right, top talents are attracted to walking among this kind of people, helping them grow rich so they can flee to these talents' home country, and become their neighbors.

Jul 20, 2015 13:00 Report Abuse



Only eunuchs need to apply. Consult your local Emperor's concubine ("representative") for advice and calculations on what your tithes will be.

Jul 20, 2015 11:47 Report Abuse



When I suggested to my employer that employees, both Chinese and non-Chinese, should have job security, my employer threatened me with deportation, saying that under Chinese law, non-Chinese employees can only be employed on limited contracts and by suggesting otherwise I was criticizing China. I have always asked my Chinese employers for job security, and none will offer more than a two-year contract with a clause that stipulates I can be fired with one month notice at any time, so the job security is in actuality 30 days! I wish eChina Cities would analyze news instead of spouting off what is in essence meaningless propaganda.

Jul 20, 2015 11:19 Report Abuse



This is a band-aid approach to try to lure foreigners back to China. The real issues why foreigners are leaving China are not being addressed.

Jul 20, 2015 11:11 Report Abuse




Jul 21, 2015 01:37 Report Abuse



Whoa, sounds like those vulgar girls looking for a sugar daddy on the Internet. Yes yes baby I want you... as long as you got high level this, high level that, I don't care who you are, but remember no money no honey.

Jul 20, 2015 08:47 Report Abuse



"a stable job and housing, with an income and personal income tax that meet the required standards that have been recommended by their work units"??????

Jul 20, 2015 06:37 Report Abuse