• Beijing to Require Criminal Record Clearances for Work Authorization Applications
  • June 14, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Effective July 1, 2013, the Beijing Labor Bureau will require applicants for work permits and foreign expert certificates to provide a police clearance certificate (known in China as a non-criminal record certificate) from their country of nationality, as part of the implementation of China’s new Exit-Entry Law. Foreign workers transferring to Beijing from another location in China will also be required to provide the certificate.

    The certificate must be issued by the relevant public security or judicial authority in the applicant’s country of nationality, and must show that the applicant has no criminal record from the age of 18 through the present. The certificate must be legalized by a Chinese diplomatic post in the country of issuance. The Beijing Labor Bureau has not provided guidance with respect to applicants who reside in a country other than their country of nationality, except to advise that the regulations are still in development.

    The certificate will be required during the first stage of the application process. For standard work permit applications, it will be required when the employment license application is filed. For applications sponsored by a representative office of a foreign company, the certificate will be required when the work permit application is filed, as employment licenses are not required in these cases.

    Applicants holding Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao passports are exempt from the new requirement.

    Beijing is the first high-volume destination to require police clearance certificates under the new law, and it will be the largest city by far in China to require the certificate. Whether other major cities will follow Beijing’s lead and require the certificates is unknown. The Exit-Entry Law does not explicitly require local officials to implement such a requirement.

    What This Means for Employers

    The new requirement will add to the time necessary to prepare work authorization applications for Beijing. Though the certificate will be required at different stages depending on the type of work authorization sought, foreign nationals and their employers should try to obtain the certificate well before beginning the application process. Processing times for police clearance certificates vary widely from country to country, and in some jurisdictions issuance can take several weeks or months.