China will pilot program to streamline work application paperwork for foreigners in an effort to attract more talent.

The pilot scheme, which unifies two work permits required by foreigners to just one, will cover Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Sichuan and Ningxia, from October 2016 to March 2017, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) said Thursday.

Under the current system, foreigners are allowed to apply for two types of work permit: an employment license for foreign employees and a foreign expert work permit for top talent, which are issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and SAFEA respectively.


The trial will unify the two permits into a single work permit, making it easier for foreigners to work in China, said Gao Xiang, director of the Department of Policies and Regulations under SAFEA.

The new work permit will be the legal credential for foreigners to work in China, with a number tied to each applicant forever, Gao said, adding that the new permit will be applied to foreigners across the country when the trial ends in April 2017.

Moreover, some application materials will not be needed when foreigners apply for the new work permit, such as a personal resume.

Foreign workers will be classified into categories A, B and C. Namely, A as top talent; B as professional talent; and C as unskilled workers or those working in the service industry.

The country will take measures to encourage the introduction of top talent while limiting B and C categories, which are less needed. A green channel will be opened for top talent to apply for work permits.