Three of the first 12 foreigners to receive green cards in Shandong Province in 2005. (Photo: VCG)
China will relax permanent residence application requirements for foreigners to attract more international talent, a move experts believe will help the country achieve greater technological innovation.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) published a draft regulation on permanent residence applications for foreigners on Thursday. The measure is soliciting public opinion as new clauses have been added to expand Chinese "green card" issuance.
The draft increases the channels for permanent residence applications among foreign talent who meet the urgent needs of the country's key industries and for those with advanced knowledge and skills who have been recommended by major research institutes or high-tech enterprises.
Foreigners who have made outstanding achievements and contributed to China's economic and social development in science and technology, education, culture, health, sports, and public welfare, and also those who have promoted exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries are qualified to make applications, according to the regulation.
The adjustments are significant to China's vision on realizing technological innovation, Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Thursday, noting that attracting foreign talent will make China involved in international communication and facilitate multinational projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
"China has increasingly opened up for international trade and capital flow over the years. The regulations should be updated to meet the country's growing need for foreign talent," said Wang.
The draft also establishes a mechanism to promote social integration among foreign residents into Chinese society and will provide a range of improved social services in areas of finance, education, medical treatment, social insurance, and others.
Iman, an Indonesian executive software engineer at a multinational bank in Shanghai, who has been living in China for five years, told the Global Times he has considered applying for permanent residency in China and the welfare service the adjusted regulations include has increased his determination.
"I used to worry that it would be hard to live alone in China, but now I can see how China is going to help foreigners to overcome the difficulties, which really motivates me to apply for a permanent residency here," said Iman.
China published its first regulation on permanent residency for foreigners in 2004 and has been issuing "green cards" to foreigners who have made outstanding achievements, including former NBA star Stephon Marbury, Dutch Nobel chemistry laureate Bernard L. Feringa, and Swiss scientist Kurt Wüthrich, also a Nobel laureate in chemistry.
"Many countries have introduced policies to attract foreign talent, and it's good to see that China is also in line with this international trend," said Wang.