China's Greater Bay Area optimizes work permit process for foreign talent

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Southern China's Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is improving employment for international talent.

According to the Guangzhou Foreign Experts Affairs Bureau, the city has taken another step to further regional integration by allowing work permits to be mutually recognized in the area, and the application process has been simplified in some places to better support global talent.

Foreigners who have received work permits in other Chinese mainland cities of the GBA can apply for the same type of work permit directly in Guangzhou, without submitting the required documents again, according to a notice issued by the local authorities.

"The Greater Bay Area is aiming to build a hub of international professionals. The new measures allow them to get here easily, be happy here, and to better develop. Age and work experience limits for high-end professionals will be extended, and talents will be able to move around the area more freely," said Wu Hanrong, director with the Guangzhou Foreign Experts Affairs Bureau.

"Under the new policy, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will loosen its age restrictions for foreign staff, raising the maximum age for staff with urgently needed skills or those who undertake major industrial projects to 65," he added.

The notice states that both the age and work experience limits will be extended for high-end foreign professionals as well as foreign talent in high-tech fields. A more than two-year work permit will be granted to eligible applicants. Young international staff who are urgently needed in science programs will not be required to have work experience.

Professionals who have participated in national, provincial and municipal science and technology planning projects and have doctoral degrees in key disciplines such as science, engineering, agriculture and medicine, can apply for the longest 10-year talent work visa.

The application process has also been shortened – applying for the same type of work permit can be done online instead of in person.

Dhungana Keshabceo, a trading company owner from Nepal, told CGTN that he just started to do trading business in Guangzhou.

"I lived in Shenzhen for about seven years. I moved to Guangzhou and established my own company. Now I got my new working card under my company. The system is very fine. The staff checked all my documents online, and they then issued the new working card. The information system is very strong. This is good, effective, and safe even during COVID time," he said.

Yan Xiaoyan, a staff from the Guangzhou Foreign Experts Bureau, said that foreign scientific and technological staff can also have part-time jobs with the permission of their employers. "After filing the proper documents with the Guangzhou Municipal Science and Technology Bureau, they can have more career opportunities," she said.