Essential employment paperwork in Beijing



Employment regulations and procedures vary in different cities, although the national labour law is applicable nationwide. For specific questions contact the Beijing Labor Bureau (12333), FESCO (8561 8888) or China International Intellectech Corporation (CIIC) (6561 3920).


You do need work or business visa before travelling to China, and you should obtain a residence permit once inside the country. Each city in China has a Public Security Bureau (PSB) through which you get a residence permit, work visa, and any dependents visas. Although the general requirements for work visas are the same throughout the country, there can be local differences in the process and requirements. These frequently change, so it is advisable to engage a local expert to assist in your immigration needs.

Most employment visas require a letter of intent to hire from the employee’s company, along with a copy of the employee’s resume, references, and qualifications. It is also necessary for foreign passport holders over 16 years of age to complete a health check inside China for immigration purposes. This includes an HIV/AIDS test. Additional permits for travel may be required for visiting remote areas such as Tibet.

Employment Visa (Z-visa)

The process for obtaining a work visa depends on the type and structure of the company which sponsors you. Documents from both you and the company are required to prove your employment. The process is done in conjunction with obtaining a residence permit and in three instalments, each typically taking five working days. You must surrender your passport for approximately ten days, during which time only domestic travel is allowed if there is an exemption letter from the government bureau.

Business Visa(F-Visa)

This is issued to those who are going to China on behalf of a US employer for research, cultural exchange and scientific purposes. It can be used for both single or double entry and is valid for 90 days stay per visit.A visa extension is usually less than three months, and the total extensions cannot add up to 1 year. You need to present a letter from your company or academic institution (for lecture tour or cultural exchange).

Everyone, including foreigners, must declare their income worldwide if they have been in China for more than 183 days and earned more than 120,000RMB annually.


Corporate Income Tax

Currently, the tax rate for domestic companies is 33%, but this may change with the introduction of a lower flat tax rate. Foreign companies used to benefit from reduced tax rate, which was used to attract foreign investment. These rates are currently being repealed, although there is a grace period over the next four years to allow for foreign companies to adjust.

Individual Income Tax

In China, personal income tax is deducted automatically from salaries. The tax ranges from 5%-45% (average 10-25%) depending on the pay grade.