On 1 November 2016, the People’s Republic State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs 国家外国专家局 (SAFEA) introduced a new program for issuing work permits to foreigners. The program, which was rolled out nationwide in April 2017, combines the previous categories of ‘alien employment permit’ and ‘foreign expert certificate’ into one ‘foreigner work permit’ 外国人工作许可证, and streamlines the application process. It will also replace the current, mostly paper-based system with a digital registry linked to each worker’s ID. Most foreigners will be glad to see the end of the notoriously time-intensive application process; the new system requires half the paper work, even if both systems still require foreigners applying for certain categories of jobs to present an original copy of their university or college diploma. But the Chinese government will now decide how much it wants them based on a three-tier classification: A for ‘high-level talent’, B for professionals, and C for unskilled or service workers hired on a temporary or seasonal basis.
Forum: Alien Invasion
On 13 October 2016, China-based employees of the Australian-owned Crown Casino woke up to the sound of police knocking on their doors. The police detained eighteen employees on suspicion of gambling-related crimes. Three of those employees, including a visiting executive, were formally arrested in November. (Authorities in China can, technically, hold suspects for thirty-seven days without formally arresting or charging them).