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What are the requirements that foreign citizens must meet to be eligible to work in China?

The basic eligibility requirements that foreign citizens to be employed in mainland China are:

  • Over 18 years old, under 60 years old, and in good health (no transmissible diseases)
  • University degree
  • Possession of the skills and 2+ years of work experience in the job for which the foreign citizen is hired (not applicable if the applicant has recently graduated from a renowned Chinese or international university)
  • Absence of criminal record in the home country and in China (if the person has lived in China before)
  • Employer is an entity legally established in mainland China.

Since 2017, foreign workers in China are assessed and classified based on a three-tier point scoring system, based on factors such as previous work experience, age, academic qualifications, time spent working in China every year, Chinese language proficiency, salary, etc. Higher-tier foreign workers are most welcome and enjoy specific advantages, such as eligibility to apply to China’s permanent residence permit (green card), longer duration of residence permits and shorter waiting times; lower-tier foreign workers. Additional points or relaxed requirements are offered to foreign workers in central and western regions.