What is the change? Beijing is closely screening older foreign workers who are applying for or renewing work permits.

What does the change mean? Foreign workers nearing age 60 are likely to be denied an initial work permit, and foreign workers who have reached age 60 when renewing their work permit will undergo a preassessment process that will delay applications and could result in denial of an extension.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationalsclose to age 60 working in Beijing.
  • Impact on processing times: Applicants filing for renewal will have to wait an additional three weeks for processing of the preassessment.
  • Business impact: Companies with foreign workers in Beijing in this age group should prepare for greater scrutiny, possible rejections of initial applications and longer wait times for work permit extensions.
  • Next steps: Expatriate employees in this age group must file their work permit renewal and resident permit extension applications at least four weeks before they expire to allow time for the preassessment.

Background: The retirement age in China is generally 60 for men and 55 for women, but each jurisdiction applies its own age limit for work permits and residence permits.

The Beijing Labor Bureau is now enforcing its age limit of 60 for both male and female foreign workers. For a first-time applicant, the employer must provide documentation of the employee’s qualifications for the job, and the decision is left to the discretion of the local bureau. For renewal applicants who have reached age 60, the bureau will conduct a preassessment before the expatriate employee may submit the application. The preassessment is estimated to take three weeks.

BAL Analysis: In the past, Beijing was relatively flexible about issuing work permits to foreign employees who had reached or exceeded age 60 as long as the applicant had a strong supporting letter. Employers should now expect a higher burden of proof and greater difficulty in obtaining new and renewal permits for foreign employees in Beijing who are approaching age 60 and older.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

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