China: Beijing Labour Bureau launches new online Work Permit system

As anticipated, the Beijing Labour Bureau rolled out its new online Foreign Employment Management System (FEMS) to begin 2016.

Launched on 4 January, 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 Licence
  • Expert Certificate
  • Short-Term Work Authorization
  • 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 Labour Bureau.As the estimated processing time for these pre-approvals is currently five (5) business days, employers should expect adding at least one additional week to overall case processing times in Beijing.

Work Permit De-registrations

The FEMS will also now serve as the employer's portal to de-register 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 de-registrations that may not have been submitted previously.If de-registrations are not completed a timely manner, the employer's rating with the Beijing Labour 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 de-registrations. If you have one already, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL Client Relationship Manager for further details.For more Re:locate news and features about immigration, click here and for more about China, click hereCaveat 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.Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department ( with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.
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