Employing Foreign Nationals in China

Published: December 2014

In this issue of China Briefing, we have set out to produce a guide to employing foreign nationals in China, from the initial step of applying for work visas, to more advanced subjects such as determining IIT liability and optimizing employee income packages for tax efficiency. Lastly, recognizing that few foreigners immigrate to China on a permanent basis, we provide an overview of methods for remitting RMB abroad.

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  • No. of Pages: 16 pages

In this issue:

  • Employing Foreign Nationals in China: Visa Procedures
  • Retrospective: 15 Years of China Briefing
  • Paying Foreign Employees: IIT and Bonus Planning
  • Special Feature: Remitting Your RMB Abroad

Although some speculation has it that the population of foreigners working in China is in decline, our experience at Dezan Shira & Associates speaks otherwise, where questions regarding the individual income tax (IIT) liability of foreign nationals, as well as work visa procedures, continue to pour in at a steady stream.

As any foreigner who has been through the process will know, obtaining a work visa in China can be a twisting process of back-and-forth between multiple government agencies and forms of documentation. Meanwhile, the revised Entry-Exit Administration Law has created ongoing confusion regarding the available types of visas and their respective functions.

Taxation can be a wholly separate headache for foreigners and the companies that employ them, where determining one’s IIT liability involves a veritable calculus of residency periods, tax brackets and other criteria. It is therefore fitting that in this special edition 150th issue of China Briefing Magazine, we should return to the subject of the very second issue of China Briefing ever published, as recounted by Chris Devonshire-Ellis in the magazine centerfold.

In this issue of China Briefing, we have set out to produce a guide to employing foreign nationals in China, from the initial step of applying for work visas, to more advanced subjects such as determining IIT liability and optimizing employee income packages for tax efficiency. Lastly, recognizing that few foreigners immigrate to China on a permanent basis, we provide an overview of methods for remitting RMB abroad.


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