China appears to be giving foreigners A, B, or C grades to determine their work status in the country.
The government is implementing a new nationwide work permit system that will classify foreign workers into three separate categories. The New York Times reported that the point-based system will reward points based on an individual’s salary, education level, Chinese-language skills and age.
The computerized system will link workers by photo ID and a number. Those with at least 85 points will be classified as Class A, 60 points for Class B and less than 60 for Class C.
Top professionals and innovative and creative talent fall under Class A. Class B professionals include those in management and technical areas that will help fill short-term gaps in China’s economic development plans. Lastly Class C will be made up of unskilled or service industry workers who should be “strictly limited.”
According to The China Organization Personnel Newspaper, a publication under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Services, limits will also be placed in international trade, sports, culture and education.
Officials believe this new classification system will promote an economy driven by innovation. State news media reported that the class hierarchy for foreigners will encourage individuals at the top to control those in the middle and limit the people at the bottom.
The government plans to do a test run in nine cities or provinces that includes Beijing and Shanghai starting on Nov. 1. Assuming everything goes well, it will be enacted nationwide on April 1, according to Zhang Jianguo, leader of the State Administration of Foreign Experts.
“It aims to better serve overseas talent coming to work in China,” Zhang said
This is expected to affect approximately 200,000 foreigners who worked legally in China and an additional 400,000 family dependents as reported by a 2010 census.
However, the numbers may not accurately reflect the total population of foreign workers in China. Eric Liu, a consultant at Foreign HR, believes that there were an estimated two million workers in the country in 2015. In addition, up to 300,000 individuals worked illegally on tourist visas.