General Information for Employment of Foreign Students in China

Hiring fresh and young talents can be a challenge in China. Generally, work permits are hard to receive in China, especially when it comes to students that are still studying or just graduated. We from ECOVIS Beijing would like to give you a short overview over the legal possibilities, in case you want to hire new employees.

Foreign student during studies

According to the research and previous experience of our legal team, a foreign student can take a work-study program during his study in China. The types of job and requirements shall be subject to specific rules set by his university or school. Otherwise, the foreign student is not allowed to work in China. According to the Article 43 of the “Law on Administration for Exit and Entry”, a foreign student shall be deemed to work illegally if he works in China beyond the prescribed types of work or requirements. In this regard, it is suggested to contact the student’s college for further information, to see if there is a chance to receive an official work permission

Foreign student after graduation

Normally, foreign students shall leave China immediately after graduation. If the student wants to work in China, he or she should apply for work permit first. In order to satisfy the mandatory requirement for achieving work permit in China, he must have two years working experience in his home country.

However, on 6 January 2017, the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Security, Foreign Affairs and Education announced that qualified foreign university graduates with no working experience are now eligible to receive work permission in China. According to a recent circular (Ren She Bu Fa [2017] No. 3) jointly announced by three Ministry Departments, young talents and students from prestigious universities shall be allowed to enter the Chinese labor market directly. That means, that companies can hire the graduate student, even if the student does not have the required two years working experience. Please read our article “China Removes Requirements for Graduates” for further information.

To be qualified, students must have received their degree from a Chinese university or a well-known international institution within the last 12 months. Unfortunately for Bachelor students, it is still hard to obtain legal work papers.

ECOVIS Beijing is a consultancy focusing on accounting, audit, legal and tax advisory for foreign SMEs and startups in China. If you have any further questions on employment of foreign students in China, please contact

 Richard2017 150x225   Richard Hoffmann

Richard Hoffmann is a partner at ECOVIS Beijing China. Richard obtained an honors degree in law and worked in Germany, the United States, and China for various prestigious law firms prior to joining ECOVIS. In addition to being a member of the board of ECOVIS International, he is Supervisor for the China business of a respected German company and shares his extensive knowledge to students by teaching commercial law in China at SRH Hochschule Heidelberg. He has published more than fifty articles in international magazines, frequently speaks at high profile events in China and abroad and is often invited as a legal expert by international TV stations. Contact:


Ecovis Beijing is the trusted tax and legal advisor to several embassies and official institutions in China. It specializes in mid-sized international companies and is focused on tax & legal advisory, accounting and auditing. If you’re interested in finding out more about tax and legal, don’t hesitate to sign up for our Newsletter, give us a call +86 (10) 6561 6609 or contact us directly via