A pilot program meant to replace two previous permits required for foreigners working in China will be launched Nov. 1 in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
The program will merge the two permits, one for “foreign employees” and another for “foreign experts,” into one, the Global Times reported yesterday, citing the Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs in Chengdu.
The program will be enforced nationwide in April 2017, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) said in September.
The permit is based on a credit-based talent evaluation system that classifies foreign workers into top talent (Type A employees), professional talent (Type B) and unskilled workers (Type C).
Type A employees are those who work as senior managers at companies, scientists, and leading figures in the science and technology industry. Type B workers are professionals who hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree or higher and have two years of work experience, and Type C are foreign workers who have seasonal or temporary jobs and work in the service industry.
Wu Ruijun, director of the Population Research Institute at the East China Normal University, said that the reform shows China is competing internationally. As more foreigners come to China to work in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the system standardizes management over foreigners who want to work in China and will help them more conveniently apply for the permit, said Wu.
Zhang Jianguo, director of SAFEA, said in September that the pilot program is meant to reform foreign talent managemen to attract top talent while limiting those who fall under the B and C categories, who are less needed. A new channel will be opened for top talent who apply for work permits in China.
Some foreigners said they are concerned over the system. “[Based on the evaluation system], I think I should be a B or C. If you are an A, you can more easily stay, but if you are not … probably the year after they will tell you bye-bye,” Bruno, a French tutor who has worked in a Northeastern city for five years, said.
“I understand that it is a way [the evaluation system] to protect people who live and work here, and a way to find out who might be engaged in illegal activities in the country. In that case, I support the system,” another foreigner, who has been working in Beijing for four years, said on condition of anonymity, adding China should probably also put more emphasis on experience rather than on educational attainment alone. (SD-Agencies)
Editor: Jane Chen