This report highlights Chinese government efforts to simplify the acquisition of Z visas for foreign employees and deploy a biometric identification system at passport check-points.
A new Order recently issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in the People’s Republic of China streamlines the requirements for Chinese employers to obtain work visas (Z-visas) for foreign employees. In addition, efforts have been stepped up – including the use of biometric information – to strengthen the supervision and administration of exit/entry of foreigners from/to the country.
Order 32 is expected to result in a smoother, less time-consuming application process – meaning foreign workers could obtain visas more quickly than in the past.
The change introduced by Order 32, along with a series of other recent administrative policies governing foreigners working in China, should reduce lead time for Z visa applications.
On March 13, 2017, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security promulgated Order No.321 to revise the Administrative Provisions on the Employment of Foreigners in China (“Circular 29”)2.
The new rules, which aim to simplify the employment of foreigners in China, became effective on the date of issuance.
Order No. 32 streamlines the requirements for Chinese employers to obtain work visas (Z-visas) for foreign employees. Effective March 13, 2017, foreigners who wish to apply for a work visa (Z-visa) are no longer required to submit an “Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit” or “Confirmation Letter of Invitation” as part of the visa application supporting documents.
Foreign applicants can apply for a Z visa with an overseas Chinese embassy, consulate, or (air)port visa office by submitting their passport or equivalent ID, and a work permit notification letter issued by the respective labor bureau in China. This change should reduce lead time for Z visa applications from approximately six weeks to four weeks.
As Order No. 32 has been in force since mid-March, implementation of the new rules has been observed to vary across the country. In order to avoid unnecessary delays, applicants are advised to liaise with the relevant commerce commission, foreign affairs office, or Chinese embassy on the local practice in the district in which they plan to work, and which will issue the Z visa.
While it is the intent of the authorities to simplify the visa application procedures for highly-skilled foreign workers, the authorities have also stepped up their efforts to strengthen the supervision and administration of exit/entry of foreigners from/to China. From January 29, 2017, the Ministry of Public Security began to deploy a biometric identification system at airport passport check-points, and launched a pilot project at Shenzhen airport and other airports on February 10, 2017, to collect biometric identifications, such as fingerprints from incoming foreign nationals aged between 14 and 70. This system will be rolled out to other airports in due course.
Deployment of biometric border security systems will help to track and manage the flow of people across borders, and also detect and prevent the use of false identities.
1 Order No.32 of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
2 Administrative Provisions on the Employment of Foreigners in China, Laobufa  No. 29 (“Circular 29”).
This article is excerpted, with permission, from “Foreign Worker China Visa Application Process Simplified,” in China Tax Alert (Issue 12, May 2017), a publication of the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China.
For additional information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional* or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China:
Tel. +86 (21) 2212 3458
Tel. +86 (21) 2212 3486
* Please note that the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not offer immigration services.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China.
© 2019 KPMG Huazhen LLP — a People's Republic of China partnership, KPMG Advisory (China) Limited — a wholly foreign owned enterprise in China, and KPMG — a Hong Kong partnership, are member firms of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. The KPMG name and logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International.
Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.