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Unbalanced Scales of Justice



  • Writer's pictureQianming Yu in

Foreign-related Labor Compliance Series (I) | Guidelines for Foreigners' Employment in China

With reference to Provisions on the Administration of the Employment of Foreigners in China, Labor Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China, Interim Measures for the Participation in Social Insurance of Foreigners Employed in China and related laws and regulations, this article summarizes the basic employment conditions, certificate requirements, labor rights and interests, labor dispute resolution and other legal matters related to the employment of foreigners in China, so as to carry out our team’s writing on the foreign-related labor compliance series.

“Employment of foreigners in China” refers to the behaviors of foreigners who have no permanent residence status to engage in social labor and receive remuneration according to the law within the territory of China. Foreigners need to meet the following statutory conditions when they are employed in China:

At least 18 years old and be in good health;

Have the professional skills and corresponding work experience required by the job;

No criminal record;

There is a definite employer;

Hold a valid passport or other international travel documents that can replace the passport.

The following documents are required for foreigners’ employment in China:

Foreigners who are employed in China shall enter China with Z-visa(if there is an agreement on mutual visa exemption, such agreement shall prevail); After entering China, the foreigners need to obtain the Work Permit and a residence permit for foreigners before working in China.

Foreigners who meet one of the following conditions are not required to hold Employment License and Work Permit:

Foreign professional technical and management personnel directly employed and paid by our government, or foreign professional technical and management personnel hired by state organs and public institutions, with senior technical titles or special skill qualification certificates acknowledged by domestic or international authoritative technical management departments or industry associations, and foreigners holding the "Foreign Expert Certificate" issued by the Foreign Experts Affairs;

Foreign workers who are engaged in offshore oil operations with the permit for foreigners to engage in offshore oil operations in PRC, and who don’t need to go ashore and have special skills ;

Foreigners who have been approved by the Ministry of Culture to carry out commercial artistic performances with a temporary commercial performance license.

Foreigners may enjoy the following rights and interests when working in China, including but not limited to:

Employers shall conclude employment contracts with foreigner in accordance with the law.The maximum term of a labor contract shall not exceed five years. The labor contract shall be terminated upon its expiration. Where there is a need for renewal, the employer shall submit an application for extension of employment period with the labor administrative authorities within 30 days before expiry of the original contract, and handle the renewal procedures of the employment permit upon approval..

The wages paid by an employer to foreigners shall not be lower than the local minimum wage standard.

The working hours, rest and vacation, labor safety and health and social insurance of foreigners employed in China shall be implemented in accordance with the relevant regulations of PRC.

Generally foreigners shall participate in pension insurance , medical insurance, work injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance. The insurance premiums shall be contributed either by the employer or the employee him/herself according to relevant provisions. However, a foreigner employed in China who is of a nationality of the country that has concluded a bilateral or multilateral treaty on social insurance with China, the participation in social insurance of the foreigner shall be governed pursuant to the treaty thereof.

Labor dispute resolutions arising from foreigners' employment in China:

Regarding labor disputes between employers and the foreigners, it shall be handled in accordance with the Labor Law of the People's Republic of China and the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Mediation and Arbitration of Labor Disputes of Enterprises. Either foreigner or employer may submit such dispute to the labor dispute arbitration commission at the place where the employment contract is performed or where the employer is located. If both parties apply for labor arbitration in the aforementioned two different places respectively,, the labor dispute shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the labor dispute arbitration commission at the place where the employment contract is performed. If an employee is dissatisfied with the arbitral award, he/she may file a lawsuit to the people's court within 15 days from the date of receiving the award.



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