New Work Authorization Policy to Commence Early in Shanghai

The Shanghai Expert Bureau announced on March 15, 2017 that the new Unified Work Authorization Policy due to commence throughout China on April 1, 2017 will commence in Shanghai on March 27, 2017. Employers needing to sponsor foreign workers in Shanghai after March 27, 2017 must be registered with the Shanghai Expert Bureau. Clients who have not yet registered should do so as soon as possible.

The rest of China is expected to follow Shanghai and commence implementing the new policy for all application types in the upcoming weeks. Announcements on these changes and general updates on the new system will be posted on our China blog.


The new unified application system will classify foreign nationals into the following three categories:

  • Category A for highly-skilled foreign nationals (this category will feature fewer supporting document requirements and application procedures);
  • Category B for other professionals; and
  • Category C for non-technical workers who participate in seasonal or temporary work.

Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan applicants will remain unaffected by this new policy.

A pilot of the Unified Work Authorization Policy started in various Chinese cities in October 2016. Fragomen has closely monitored the pilot and employers should expect:

  • A six-to-eight month processing time for applicants under Category B and C due to the online process, the initial document procurement and legalization time required;
  • A two-to-three month processing time for applicants under Category A;
  • An increase in application steps which is likely to result in additional fees; and
  • Technical issues with the online system that may delay lodgment of applications.

What This Means for Employers

Employers should plan for delays and cost increases in certain applications adversely impacted by the changes.

Employers who have not yet registered online should do so urgently.

Employers should consider filing Work Permit applications before the new system is implemented where possible.

Fragomen China is closely monitoring the situation and will report on further details as they become available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to

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