Guide for foreigners in Guangzhou: Foreigners' work permits

GZFAO| Updated: Mar 22, 2022
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Foreigners working in China shall obtain foreign work permits (FWPs) and work-type residence permits in accordance with relevant regulations.

Organizations or individuals shall not employ a foreigner without obtaining a work permit and a residence permit.

These foreigners are exempt from FWP applications:

Personnel from foreign diplomatic or consular missions in China, United Nations representative offices in China, and people with diplomatic privileges and immunities from other international organizations. Foreigners with China's permanent residence card (Chinese Green Card).

Foreign laborers with special skills to work offshore petroleum without going ashore, and foreigners holding Foreigners' Work Permit to Perform Offshore Petroleum Operation in the People's Republic of China.

Foreigners working for profitable purposes with a Temporary Profitable Performance Permit approved and issued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Other circumstances are specifically mentioned in-laws and regulations.

Rules for the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China

Employers in Guangzhou should apply for an FWP and deal with the challenges that come with it for their international staff. Employers who hire foreigners and their foreign employees are the subjects of the evaluation and approval process.


Eligible employers for employing foreigners

Being a law-abiding company with no history of severe legal or public-reputation violations, special needs are limited to Chinese candidates for the time being, and subject to Chinese legislation. The job's payment and remuneration should be higher than the local minimum wage.

Duly pre-approved by the competent departments as confined by the laws and regulations, if applicable.

Individual economic organizations and private citizens are prohibited from employing foreigners.

Eligible FWP applicants

Being at least 18 years old and healthy, with no criminal record, employed by a certain employer in the Chinese mainland, and obtaining the professional skills or certain level of knowledge necessary for the job.

Being a professional who is urgently needed in China and employed by a job that is in line with the social and economic development of China.

Complying with the provisions of other laws and regulations for the employment of foreigners in China, if any.

Besides the above-mentioned requirements, applicants shall also meet one of the following criteria:

1. High-end foreign talents (category A)

High-end Foreign Talents (Category A) include scientists, leading S and T talents, international entrepreneurs, special talents, and other foreign high-end talents urgently needed for the economic and social development of China who falls in line with the national priority list for foreign talents or fulfills the market demand for government-encouraged posts as well as those who meet the criteria for high-end foreign talents set up in the points-based system (grade 85 points or more). Foreign high-end talents are free from the restriction of a quota that is not subject to age, education, and work experience restrictions. For details, see the Categorization Criteria of Foreigners Working in China (Trial).

2. Foreign professional talents (category B)

Foreign professional talents (Category B) include foreign professionals who meet the requirements of the Guiding Catalog and Positions for Foreigners Working in China, fulfill the urgent demands of the economic and social development of China, hold a bachelor's degree or above, have relevant working experience for two years or more, and are aged below age 60 or obtain 60 points or more in the points-based system; for those who are in urgent need and meet the criteria for innovative and entrepreneurial talents, professional and skilled talents, excellent foreign graduates, those who meet the criteria for foreign professional talents set up in the point-based system, or those who are introduced due to the implementation of inter-government agreements or protocols, the restrictions on age, education or working experience can be relaxed. For details, see the Categorization Criteria of Foreigners Working in China (Trial). If there are national regulations for professionals and government project personnel, the said regulations shall apply.

3. Other foreigners (category C)

Other foreigners (category C) refers to foreigners employed to meet the demand of the domestic labor market in line with the state policies and regulations. For details, see the Categorization Criteria of Foreigners Working in China (Trial).

Where to apply

Service System for Foreigners Working in China accepts online applications year-round at no cost.

Application guide for foreigner's work permit from outside China (over 90 days)


Procedures. [Photo/WeChat account: GZWS411665430]

Application guide for a foreigner's work permit from within China (over 90 days)

Besides meeting the basic requirements mentioned above, eligible FWP applicants applying for FWP from within China (over 90 days) shall also fit in with one of the following circumstances:

(1) A foreigner working in China who intends to work for a different company with the same job position (occupation) and has a work-type residence permit that is still valid;

(2) The foreign spouse or children of a Chinese citizen or a foreigner permanently residing or working in China with valid visas or residence permits;

(3) Being in line with the relevant preferential policies for free trade zones and/or comprehensive innovation reform pilot zones;

(4) The employer is eligible for the preferential policies about the Chinese headquarters of multinationals;

(5) Personnel transfer between the group and its subsidiaries;

(6) Foreigners undertaking the intergovernmental agreements or cooperation projects;

(7) Representatives of foreign establishments in China who have entered China with valid work visas; or foreigners who have obtained an FWP for less than 90 days in China and now are employed by domestic employers within the validity period of their stay;

(8) Other circumstances deemed eligible by the approving agencies.


Procedures. [Photo/WeChat account: GZWS411665430]

Guide to apply for short-term FWP in Guangzhou (90 days or less)

Foreigners intending to work for a short term (90 days or less) in Guangzhou shall apply for a Notification Letter of FWP (90 days or less).

Applicants should be able to fit into one of the following scenarios:

To complete technical, science research, management, advisory jobs, etc. with their partner within Mainland China

To conduct a trial training for sports within Mainland China (including coaches and athletes)

Photographers (including advertisements and documentaries)

Models (including models for car shows and print ads)


Procedures. [Photo/WeChat account: GZWS411665430]

Guide to apply for a confirmation letter for high level foreign talents

High-level and urgently needed talents for China's economic and social development who meet the conditions for high-end foreign talents  (category A) outlined in the Evaluation Criteria for Foreigners Employed in China (Trial), as well as high-end scientists, science and technology leading talents, international entrepreneurs, special talents and high-skilled talents that fulfill the needed demands, may apply for the Confirmation Letter for High-Level Foreign Talents and may apply for the Talent Visa (R visa) with the Confirmation Letter for High-Level Foreign Talents.


Procedures. [Photo/WeChat account: GZWS411665430]

Guide to apply for foreigner's work permit for foreign graduates

Foreigners obtaining masters’ degrees or above from renowned overseas universities for less than one year, or international students obtaining masters’ degrees or above from the universities in China for less than one year.

Approval criteria:

1. Being at least 18 years old and healthy;

2. No criminal record;

  3. Excellent academic performance, with an average score of no less than 80 (hundred mark system or standards are determined by the provisions of the equivalent), or above B+/B (grade system), with no record of misconduct at school;

4. Obtained corresponding academic qualifications and degrees;

5. Having a certain employer and a job that fits in with his/her major. The salary shall be no less than the average income of local employees. The standards are determined by the provisions of the provincial human resources and social security departments by the labor market and the needs for introducing talents;

6. Possess valid passports or international travel documents.


Procedures. [Photo/WeChat account: GZWS411665430]

Service center

Guangzhou Service Center of Foreigner's Work Permit (Huangpu district and Nansha district are not included)

Address: Counter 517-518, 5th Floor, No 61 Huali Rd, Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District, Guangzhou Foreign-related Comprehensive Service Platform, Guangzhou

Nansha Government Affairs Service Center (only for Nansha district)

Address: Counter 4-5, Comprehensive Service Platform for Foreign Affairs, Guangzhou Nansha Government Affairs Service Center, 1st Floor, No 1 Fenghuang Avenue, Nansha District, Guangzhou Service

Center of Science and Technology Bureau of Huangpu District (only for Huangpu district)

Address: Counter 401-402, Zone A, 4th Floor, Government Affairs Service Center, No 3 Xiangxue 3rd Rd, Huangpu District, Guangzhou

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 am-12:00 pm, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm (national statutory holidays excluded) 

Hotline: +86-20-12345

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