China: Processing Changes for Shanghai Work Authorization Process

The Shanghai Expert Bureau has recently implemented processing changes for work authorization applications which are expected to reduce the processing time of Notification Letters for Work Permit and Work Permit applications in Shanghai.

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Dec 13, 2017

The situation
Recent changes made by the Shanghai Expert Bureau on processing of work authorization applications are expected to reduce the processing times for Notification Letters for Work Permit (NLWP) and Work Permit (WP) applications in Shanghai.

Key changes

  • Less frequent requests for revisions and additional information. During online pre-assessment of the NLWP and WP applications, the Expert Bureau will notify applicants only once for all information that needs to be corrected, modified or additionally provided. Previously, the Expert Bureau would notify applicants each time a correction or additional documentation was required.
    • Impact. 
      • This is expected to reduce the time spent on frequent, multiple revisions and submission of additional information during online pre-assessment. 
      • Applicants who have submitted one online pre-assessment and are notified of any revision or additional information requests can visit the authority for physical filing of NLWPs and WPs directly after they submit the second online application, instead of waiting for such online submission to be approved.
  • Limited resubmission requests. The Expert Bureau will limit its requests for online resubmission of NLWP and WP applications to a maximum of two in each case. Foreign workers would need to resubmit their NLWP or WP application if the immigration authorities request additional evidence after the initial submission. On average, authorities would request additional evidence two to three times under the previous process.
  • More flexible application requirements. Where any non-essential documents are not available when filing physical documents, applicants can either withdraw the application and try later, or choose to submit their application without sufficient non-essential documents. In the second scenario, employers will need to provide the outstanding non-essential documents within 10 business days of filing; otherwise they will be removed from the list of companies granted this benefit by the authority. 
    • Impact. This will ease the pressure on urgent cases if non-essential application documents are not yet available. However, employers should be very cautious in using this option because failure to provide outstanding documents can affect an employer's good standing.  
  • Shorter processing for top talents. Talents listed in the national talent introduction programs will see reduced standard government processing times for their WP applications. For more information on this list, contact your immigration professional.

The changes were based on feedback from employers and foreign employees and meant to resolve issues experienced by WP applicants such as repetitive requests for additional information and prolonged processing times for NLWP and WP applications.

This alert is for informational purposes only.  If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to

Fragomen in China is Fragomen (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., operating exclusively as an immigration consultancy and not as a law firm in China.

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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