January 8, 2016

As anticipated, the Beijing Labor Bureau rolled out its new online Foreign Employment Management System (FEMS) to begin 2016. Launched on January 4, 2016, the new system will handle several immigration processes including work permit pre-approvals, renewals, and de-registrations.

What’s Changed?

Beijing employers sponsoring foreign employees will now be required to utilize the new FEMS online portal for the following types of applications:

• Employment License;
• Expert Certificate;
• Short-Term Work Authorization; and
• Work Permit – including permits for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwanese citizens.

Currently, these changes only affect procedures in Beijing and it remains unknown whether other Chinese cities or provinces will follow suit with similar online application systems.

USB “Key” Requirement

Before accessing the FEMS, companies will be required to purchase a USB “Key” or “Shield” from the Beijing Labor Bureau. In order to facilitate the company’s operational needs, more than one USB Key can be purchased at a time. The keys will be valid for a period of one (1) year and will require annual renewal.

Work Permit Pre-Approvals

Effective immediately, all applicable applications filed in Beijing will now require a pre-approval through the new online system. After the pre-approval has been issued (current estimated processing time is 5 business days), the traditional physical work permit application package must be filed via appointment with the Beijing Labor Bureau.

As the estimated processing time for these pre-approvals is currently 5 business days, employers should expect adding at least one additional week to overall case processing times in Beijing.

Work Permit Deregistrations

The FEMS will also now serve as the employer’s portal to deregister both expired work permits and valid work permits for work assignments that have been terminated or expired. Employers will have a six (6) month grace period until July 4, 2016, to complete any necessary work permit deregistrations that may not have been submitted previously.

If deregistrations are not completed a timely manner, the employer’s rating with the Beijing Labor Bureau will be lowered which may affect future work permit application decisions.

How These Changes Affect You

It is strongly recommended that sponsoring employers in Beijing apply for/purchase their USB Key as soon as possible to avoid any possible delays to their first work permit applications of 2016. In addition, these companies should take close note of the new requirements brought forth by the FEMS and how they affect the overall work permit application process.

As the FEMS is a very new system, Beijing companies should anticipate possible additional delays to the adjudication of work permit pre-approvals and employment licenses.

Pro-Link GLOBAL can assist with all aspects of the new FEMS, including arranging the necessary work permit deregistrations. Please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL Client Relationship Manager for further details.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. We would like to remind you that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your immigration specialist or your client relations manager at Pro-Link GLOBAL should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by your Pro-Link GLOBAL Knowledge Management team and Pro-Link GLOBAL China Office.

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