The Foreigners’ Work Permit was originally two permits integrated together, “The Alien Employment License” and “The Foreign Expert Employment Permit”. The decision to merge them was made by the State Council on March 31, 2017. Before this, Shanghai had been home to the unit examining the new work permit policy.

All most all of our readers have had questions about the ABC categories of work permits, so we did some research and found all the criteria for these three categories.


The sample of “Foreigner's Work Permit” (FWP)

The new policy will divide the foreigners who work in China into three categories.

Category A (Foreign Talents - encourage), Category B (Foreign professional talents - control), Category C (Ordinary Foreigners - restrict).

Category A: 

High-end Foreign Talents

Category A refers to high-end foreign talents who are scientists, science and technology leading talents, international entrepreneurs, or specialized talents that are urgently needed for Chinese economic and social development. The high-end foreign talents should be in line with the national introduction of foreign talent focus and directory, or meet either condition below, then they can apply accordingly to Category A. Category A will enjoy the "The Green Channel" and "Tolerance Management” service.

If you meet one of the requirements below, you can apply for Category A.

01   Selected by China talent import plan

        Government related programs and awards.

02     Foreign Employee personally having won Internationally recognized rewards.


03   Employer has reached a certain criterion:


Innovative and Entrepreneurial Talent

a) Shareholder of the company, personal shares over 30%, personal investment over 500,000 USD$, company running stably and over 3 years continuously, has personal technical invention or patents.

b) Legal Representative, GM, Chairman of the Board or CTO who has personal technical invention or patents in the company, and the company annual sales over 10 million RMB or annual taxation over 1 million RMB for 3 years continuously.

05   Selected by the Youth-Talent project

a) Aged less than 40 years old, doing post-doctoral research-youth talent from the world's top 500 universities.

b) Age less than 40 years old, doing Post-Doctoral research youth talent in any university inside of China.

06    Personal comprehensive quality - score >85 points, score sheet below:




Category B : 

Foreign professional Talents

Category B refers to foreign professional talents who meet specific guidelines set out for foreigners working in China, with relevant job criteria, and needed for China's economic and social development.

E.g.: professional technicians, foreign language teachers, high income foreigners, or jobs relating to state departments, with personal project scores of  between 60-84 points.

You have to meet the condition of one of the below to apply as a Category B foreigner.


Category C :

Other Foreigners

Category C refers to other foreigners who meet the needs of the domestic labor market, in line with national policies and regulations, including:


To apply for the “Foreigner’s Work Permit” (FWP), you need to apply for the “Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit” (NLFWP) first, It takes about 20 working days all together. 

In the official document released, it says that if you fulfill one of the requirements in the category, you can apply for a work permit in this category. However, it doesn’t necessarily grant you the work permit you want. Beside, wages are taken into consideration as well- foreigners need to fulfill the wage requirement as well. In requirement A3, it says that foreigners in Category A need to be paid at least six times as average wage in the area. It is for the government to decide which employee has the most value and contribution to the society.

Here is the average wage in China for your reference. The data collected are average salary for one month.


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