On November 1, 2016, China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) launched a pilot work permit program in select regions of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Anhui, Guangdong, Hebei, Shandong, Sichuan and Ningxia. The program is widely anticipated to roll out nationwide on April 1, 2017.
China’s previous foreign work permits have been integrated into the Permit System for Foreigners in China, a single work permit based on a three-tiered classification system. The permit provides a federal model, eliminating the often troublesome and inconsistent regionally administered policies.
The three-tiered system classifies foreign workers as A, B or C level candidates, based on their education, salary level, age, time spent working in China and Chinese language skills. Applicants who receive more than 85 points are given the letter A, 60 to 85 points, B, and less than 60 points, C. Continue Reading →
While the 2nd and revised Executive Order (EO) banning visitors from specific countries is suspended and subject to review by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in May, individuals from the targeted countries have been greatly concerned about their ability to travel freely to and from the US.
Furthermore, the temporary removal of premium processing of H-1B visas has shut down the ability of persons working legally in the U.S. from obtaining permanent status. In the past, with premium processing, they could expedite the transition process and be able to travel more quickly and freely. Without it, newly arrived H-1Bs are “stuck” in the US until their status is finalized.
There is also talk of reducing the H-1B cap altogether, which potentially reduces foreign born workforce in the US. Why does this matter? Overall, higher scrutiny and an approval process with more qualifiers and restrictions may impact access to H-1Bs in the future. Changes may include controls for employers to take additional steps to fill positions with U.S. workers, a significant minimum salary increase for H-1B holders and removal of the master’s degree exception, phasing out work eligibility for trailing spouses of H-1B holders, and prioritizing H-1Bs for foreign students who have studied in the U.S.