Previously, an expatriate would go through “4-step” procedures for working in China legally: (1) (the employer) applies for a government approval for hiring expatriates; (2) the expatriate applies for work visa (Z visa) by submitting the government approval; (3) the expatriate applies for working permit from labor authority; and (4) the expatriate applies for residence permit with local police.

Now, if an expatriate conduct qualified “short-term work” in China according to the new policies the “working permit” in the third step is not required and the procedures are simplified to “3-step”. Furthermore, if the “short-term” work will be completed within one month, the “residence permit” in the fourth step mentioned above is also not required and the procedures could be further simplified to “2-step”.


In conclusion, in terms of the labor market, China is stepping into a complicated era. On the one hand, new technology developments and the integrated global economy make it necessary to further open its labor market to attract more talented expatriates. On the other hand, the transition of the Chinese economy also means change in the domestic labor market with a lot of efforts to be made in creating more job opportunities. The policies mentioned above are in their two-year pilot programs, which are only implemented in Beijing and Shanghai.  Nevertheless, the trend of more expatriates working in China and more regulations being implemented in this area can be anticipated.