Shanghai to Extend Length of Expat Visas

Officials in Shanghai are working on policies that will allow expatriates working in regional headquarters of multinational companies to remain in Shanghai for more than one year at a time.

According to an official in the region, changes to the current visa process and the rules and regulations governing the length of time that a visa is valid will be altered in order to encourage more multinational companies to establish their headquarters in the city: “The Shanghai Commission of Commerce is working with the city’s exit and entry administration to allow foreign employees of multinational corporations’ regional headquarters to have longer visa validity,” Chen Xianjin, the commission’s vice chairman, said.

“Foreign investment has been accounting for 30 percent of the city’s total tax revenue while providing 30 percent of the city’s job opportunities,” he added.

At present, the majority of expatriates working in Shanghai are required to apply for their work visa on an annual basis, with longer visas being restricted to senior officials of large multinational companies. This is extremely inconvenient for many expatriates in the city, who find the bureaucracy associated with the application process time consuming and frustrating. All this is set to change if the recommended policies are implemented and expatriates will be awarded visas that are aligned with the duration of their work contracts.