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Obtaining a Chinese “Green Card” Just Got Easier… For Some

China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) recently announced an increase in the number of sectors which allow foreign nationals to apply for permanent residency. This change was made in an attempt to fill the need for more experienced foreign experts, particularly in the fast growing tech field.

Newly added business sectors include: technology centers of nationally-accredited tech companies, engineering research centers, state laboratories and foreign-funded R&D centers.

Qualified applicants must have a professional title of Associate Professor or above, have been working in China for at least four years and provide up to date tax records, according to the MPS.

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It seems the motivation for expanding the pool of qualifying professionals has been due to the continued lack of candidates who choose to work long term in China since the “green card” (permanent residency) system was implemented in 2004. The MPS commented, “Such measures will play an essential role in attracting more high-level foreigners, including many overseas Chinese.”

According to the Center for China and Globalization, just 6,000 foreigners have obtained permanent residency in the last 10 years. Among these are a small number who have invested heavily in China or have otherwise made “outstanding contributions” to the country.

With residency, foreigners have many of the same rights as Chinese citizens: the ability to invest in businesses, purchase property and send their children to Chinese schools (although, I can’t imagine why anyone would want that).

And of course, with residency, they would no longer have to go through the hassle of annual residence permit and work permit renewals.

H/T: Beijing Review