China relaxes ‘green card’ rules to lure more foreign talent

World Today

China is attempting to attract more foreign talent and investment by making it easier for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence, or “green card”, in the country, according to a statement released by the State Council on Thursday.

Under the present rules, which came into effect in 2004, foreigners holding permanent residency do not need a visa to enter the country. The application of permanent residence only applied to those who worked in government departments or laboratories of ‘key national projects’.

Last June, the rule was relaxed to include researchers at more institutes, including those with international funding.

The new statement said foreigners in other industries are also eligible to apply for the status.

Meanwhile, it urged all levels of governments to simplify the application procedures in a bid to promote “investment-based immigration policies” and attract foreigners willing to invest in China. Red tape should be cut in examining and approving those applications, and the waiting time for approval should be shortened, the statement said.

Foreign nationals should be included in the national social welfare system and be entitled to pay and use public housing funds and medical insurance, as per the regulations. They can also enjoy equal treatment as entitled to Chinese citizens for purchasing property, children’s education, and obtaining a driver’s license.

It also eased restrictions on the duration of stay. Under the current rules, green card holders must stay in China for more than three months each year, or for more than one year in five if they have special permission.

Qualified applicants need to have worked in China for at least four years and been in the country for at least three of the previous four years.

Read the full document here (in Chinese).

Story by CCTV News