China implements new immigration policy

World Today

China is making it easier for foreigners to stay and live in the country. New immigration rules went into effect this month. They’re designed to help more foreign workers and top students claim residence or stay longer in China.

CGTN’s Connie Lee has more.

For foreigners thinking about a life in China, now may be a good time to explore the options.

China just implemented new immigration and exit and entry rules for foreigners. They include: increasing the number of permanent residence permits to qualified overseas workers; and adding more long-term visas for top talents– this includes students, workers and people looking to start businesses in China.

The new rules went into effect Aug. 1.

Through this, China is hoping to attract and retain more highly skilled foreigners. Latest figures show nearly a million foreigners work in China.

“China is going against the trend of other countries which are tending to try to restrict immigration more,” Professor Martin Lockett at Nottingham University Business School China said. “If you can attract students to stay in the country then that’s good for the long-term interests of the country.”

There are concerns though that overseas talent could take jobs away from Chinese workers. But many experts argue the opposite – that more foreigners in the country helps create jobs.

“I don’t think there is actually any conflict,” Wang Huiyao, the President at Center for China and Globalization said. “Actually, on the contrary, it can actually help Chinese companies going global, enhance productivity and also particularly have the global business, so that it can create more jobs and create more opportunities. So I think it’s high time actually, it’s the right time.”

Previously, foreigners who wanted permanent residence had to make ‘extraordinary contributions’ or fill a special skills gap.

Now, they must have held a job in China for at least four consecutive years, have ‘in-demand’ skills, and make an annual income of at least $82,000 and pay taxes, to be eligible. Spouses and their children can also apply.