(Aug. 20, 2013) On May 30, 2013, Beijing municipal employment authorities gave notice of a new requirement, effective as of July 1, for foreigners seeking work permits in Beijing. The foreign applicants must provide a Certificate of No Criminal Record (Wu Fanzui Jilu Zhengming Shu, also called a Liangmin Zheng) when submitting documentation for employment licenses, employment permits (unless this application has already been submitted with the employment license), and foreign expert licenses. The rule applies both to foreign nationals newly applying to move to China from abroad and to foreign nationals who already hold an employment permit or expert license in another Chinese city and are transferring to Beijing. (Beijing to Require Certificate of No Criminal Record for Work Permit Applications, 26:2 GLOBAL IMMIGRATION & MOBILITY NEWSLETTER (June 2013), on file with author).
The date of implementation of the Notice coincides with the date of entry into force of China’s new Law on Administration of Exit and Entry, which had been adopted on June 30, 2012. (Id.; Laney Zhang, China: New Visa System Proposed, Public Opinions Being Solicited, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (May 20, 2013) [includes hyperlink to Chinese text of the Law].) The Law states, under articles 15 and 16(3), that all foreigners generally will need a visa to enter China and accords authority to the State Council to formulate detailed rules for “ordinary visas” that involve entry into the country by foreigners for purposes such as work, business, and the attraction of talent (Zhang, supra; New Exit-Entry Law Goes into Effect in China, XINHUA (July 1, 2013).)
The original draft State Council regulations on implementation of the Law had provided that when applying for a visa, in addition to filling in the visa application form and submitting other documents such as a valid passport, a foreigner should submit “if required by the visa agency, a certificate of no criminal conviction and other materials” (art. 8). This provision does not appear in the final draft of the regulations, however (see art. 7). (Gary Chodorow, Translation: State Council Draft Regulations Implementing the Exit-Entry Administration Law (May 3, 2013). art. 8, U.S. AND CHINA VISA LAW BLOG (posted May 15, 2013); Gary Chodorow, Translation: Foreigner Exit-Entry Administration Regulations of the People’s Republic of China (July 3, 2013; in force on Sept. 1, 2013), U.S. AND CHINA VISA LAW BLOG (posted July 23, 2013).) The new State Council regulations, issued on July 22, 2013, and in force as of September 1, include among other visa categories a new “R” visa, aimed at attracting highly skilled foreign talent to China. (Authorized Release: “Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Entry and Exit of Foreigners” [in Chinese], XINHUA (July 22, 2013), art. 6(9); Zhang, supra; Translation: Foreigner Exit-Entry Administration Regulations of the People’s Republic of China, supra.)
According to the Beijing Notice, which was issued by the Beijing Foreign Experts and Foreigners Employment Center under the city’s Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, the Certificate of No Criminal Record must be issued by the public security or judicial authorities in the applicant’s place of residence, accompanied by a translation done by an official translation company, and authenticated by a Chinese consulate. (Gary Chodorow, Beijing to Require “Certificate of No Criminal Conviction” for Foreigners’ Employment Licenses, U.S. AND CHINA VISA LAW BLOG (June 19, 2013); Beijing to Require Certificate of No Criminal Record for Work Permit Applications, supra.) Reportedly, however, when the foreign applicant is transferring to Beijing from another city in China, “a domestically-issued certificate may be accepted” despite the above rules. (Beijing to Require Certificate of No Criminal Record for Work Permit Applications, supra.)
The Certificate of No Criminal Record is not new in China; the cities of Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen, and Suzhou reportedly have similar requirements in place. (Beijing to Require “Certificate of No Criminal Conviction” for Foreigners’ Employment Licenses, supra; Chris Devonshire-Ellis & Richard Hoffman, Op-Ed Commentary, Expatriates Working in China with Criminal Records, CHINA BRIEFING (Aug. 27, 2010).)