The double-track work permits, involving border entrance work permit and foreign experts work permit for overseas employees in China, will soon be streamlined into one system under reforms initiated by the State Council and implemented by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
This will allow applicants to download online forms for completion and submission, triggering a lifetime individual code for the storage of personal information, such as, working experiences, services and credits. All the applications are expected to be finished through one service window within five working days, half the time of the previous application and cutting out approximately 70 of the old procedures.
"The integration of the two different work permits is designed to remove impediments, such as inconsistent administration, policies and inefficient communication related to different and often complicated issues related to the jobs, identities and social status of foreigners," said Zhang Jianguo, head of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
"It will help reduce repetitious checks and approvals, avoid administrative loopholes and improve efficiency by building a more active, open and efficient personnel introduction system as was required in the Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang, this year," Zhang added.
Trials of the integrated mechanism will be officially launched in Beijing, Hebei, Tianjin, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Sichuan and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on November 1. Based on their experiences, such as how to distribute duties, streamline procedures and systems and improve coordination among different departments, the system is expected to be expanded to other provinces and regions next year.
"We'll learn from the experiments in the pilot cities and regions, becoming aware of their problems and searching for pertinent solutions," Zhang said.
The administration will issue new work permit cards equipped with contactless chips of RFID technology, carrying foreigners' names, photos, visa numbers, the duration and expiry date of permitted stay, and the workplaces.
The integrated work permit, under the concerted efforts of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security, will be widely recognized by the government authorities across the country where the information is expected to be shared.
Categorized into A, B and C groups, the work permits will identify the status of the holders, respectively high-end personnel, professional personnel and the temporary and seasonal personnel in service or non-technical sectors in response to market demand.
The highlights to evaluate the credits of the foreign employees contain the criteria of their salaries, educational backgrounds, length of service, working hours in China, Chinese language proficiency, workplaces (concerning regional disparities), ages and working experiences (including, teaching in prestigious universities or working for well-known multinational companies). Scores are added up to 60 minus for group C, 60 plus for B and 85 plus for A.
National personnel schemes and international standards are counted for the evaluation of the top-end foreign experts accredited to Group A.
There are various perks also emerging to facilitate the lives of foreign employees. In Tianjin, the municipality has launched an online hospital registration system on Wechat (a social networking platform in China) for the visits of foreigners who will be accompanied during their visits to doctors through easy access.
Competition in the international human resource arena is becoming increasingly ferocious, which drives China to break the shackles of fossilized personnel mechanism to attract more high-end talents for their efforts in building the innovation-driven society, Zhang said.