China to Combine Work & Residence Permit

China to Combine Work & Residence Permit

On August 19, 2020, according to, in a press conference on further interpretation of Stabilizing the Fundamentals of Foreign Trade and Investment, the Ministry of Commerce indicates that government shall relax the restrictive measures for foreigners in the service field. This includes exploring the integration of work permit and work-type residence permit, so as to better practice the reform, opening up and innovation policies in 28 pilot areas.

What’s to be Reformed

As per Xian Guoyi, director of the Department of Service and Trade of the Ministry of Commerce, these measures can be adopted in pilot areas so that expats can live a more comfortable life in China:

  • Relax the approval right of foreign children’s schools;
  • Simplify the approval process of foreign-funded travel agencies;
  • Expand the scope of qualifications for technology import and export operators;
  • Set up the permanent representative offices in China of the foreign patent agencies, etc.

Opening Up: Easier for Foreigners to Start Businesses and Work

Per the Ministry of Commerce, in the pilot areas, the foreign service providers will be allowed to enter the Chinese market in more fields, where it is stated that:

  • Encourage foreign institutions to hold foreign-related economic and technological exhibitions independently;
  • Support the development of cross-border commercial medical insurance products with foreign institutions;
  • Relax the restrictive measures in the service field, including exploring the integration of work permit and work-type residence permit for foreigners;
  • Promoting mutual recognition of professional qualifications;
  • Allow foreign lawyers be employed as foreign legal advisers on a pilot basis;
  • Qualified foreigners could be allowed to take the qualification examination for patent agent;
  • Strengthen international cooperation in education, law, finance and other fields;
  • Build international service trade cooperation parks.

Innovation: Easier Mobile Payment for Foreigners

The pilot areas should vigorously promote the development of online-teaching, digital services, copyright services, and pharmaceutical R & D, where it is mentioned that a pilot program of digital Chinese yuan shall be put into use so as to make it easier for foreigners to use mobile payment in China.

Per the Ministry of Commerce, the above-mentioned measures will be piloted in 28 areas and then nationwide if work well.

List of 28 Pilot Areas

Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hainan, Dalian, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Changchun, Harbin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Jinan, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Guiyang, Kunming, Xi’an, Urumqi, Suzhou, Weihai, Xiong’an New Area in Hebei, the New Area between Guiyang and Anshun in Guizhou and Xi Xian New area in Shaanxi.

Chinese source of the press conference.