Immigration is one of the primary concerns for any contractor hoping to start working in China. Permanent employees will find it easy to get their Chinese work permit because they’ll receive “sponsorship” for their entire stay from their prospective employer.
The Chinese work permit, known more commonly as the Z Visa, is dependent on this sponsorship because it confirms that you’ll be earning money during your stay in the country. Contracting in China is more difficult because the work permit is tied to one employer, so you have to change it to suit each new contract. Thankfully, umbrella companies provide a convenient and effective solution to this issue.
As your permanent employer, umbrella companies are able to sponsor you for your Chinese work permit provided they’re on the register of approved sponsors. Many different companies offer this service, because it makes contracting in China infinitely simpler and saves you the hassle of continuous paperwork. Instead of changing your work permit every time you get a new contract, you can just work how you ordinarily would under the same permit. They protect you from the bureaucratic “rain” of legal compliance with the Chinese immigration authorities. They can even deal with the Chinese Embassy directly.
Through their service you may be able to use a business visa to get started quickly and then transition to a work visa in China. It depends on your specific visa requirements. Be aware you may have to register for a residence permit in China.