China: Occupational Qualification Certificates for Foreigners 

January, 2006 -

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (“MLSS”) issued the Letter on Issues Relevant to the Occupational Qualification Certificates Held by Foreigners Seeking Employment in China on 13 September 2005. The Letter is likely to make it more difficult for foreigners to take up employment in China in positions or jobs for which Occupational Qualification Certificates must be held. Occupational Qualification Certificates According to the 1996 Regulations for the Administration of the Employment of Foreigners in China, foreigners seeking employment in China are required to have the necessary expertise and relevant work experience for their job. In 2000, the MLSS issued the Regulations for the Recruitment of Personnel for Technical Jobs (“Recruitment Regulations”) which require that all persons engaged in certain occupations or jobs specified by the state obtain the corresponding Occupational Qualification Certificate. The Recruitment Regulations contain a catalogue of occupations which require the holder to obtain an Occupational Qualification Certificate. The list ranges across a wide range of occupations in industry, agriculture and services and includes jobs such as secretary, welder and chauffeur. Foreigners The Letter provides that foreigners who seek employment in these specified occupations or jobs in China are also required, in principle, to hold the relevant Occupational Qualification Certificates of the People's Republic of China. Foreigners who are employed in occupations or jobs with foreign characteristics, e.g. western food chefs, western bread and pastry chefs, etc. in China may be employed or take up their position on the strength of an occupational qualification certificate issued by the government or industry association of their country. The approval of the MLSS shall be obtained to be able to enjoy this special treatment. Examination The Letter specifies that foreigners are allowed to participate in occupational qualification certification examinations in China. The Letter adds that the examination papers will only be provided in Chinese. This is an important restriction that will certainly preclude a majority of foreigners seeking employment in the specified occupations from taking the examinations.



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