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[expat] Korean manager gets SZ's 1st green card
Latest Updated by 2006-05-19 10:19:37

A SOUTH Korean manager of a Chinese-foreign joint venture company yesterday became the first foreigner to receive a Shenzhen green card, which grants him permanent residence in the city.

Kim Jae-Il, the 64-year-old general manager of STS Microelectronics in Futian Free Trade Zone in Shenzhen, has lived in the city for seven years.

"Mr. Kim Jae-Il is the first foreigner obtaining the qualification of permanent residence in our city because of his wide-range participation in the city's construction and development. His arduous effort has won the affirmation and recognition from all walks of life," Wang Jianping, vice director general of the municipal public security bureau, said while presenting the card to Kim during a ceremony at STS.

"I hope there will be more foreigners supporting and participating actively in the city's economic construction and more foreigners can obtain such honor," Wang said.

"It's a great honor for me to receive the green card," Kim said. "For me it is a moment of my renaissance in China. If I have done something for Shenzhen, it is my natural job and obligation as a company service man. I will take this card as an encouragement to do more and better to serve our society and community."

Kim says that he loves both the city of Shenzhen and China. During his stay here, he and his company have been involved in carrying out social service projects like planting trees, picking up garbage and donating for the Project Hope schools every year. "My life in China is the best part of my life," he said.

Kim said his message to other foreigners applying for a green card was: "Try to be a good citizen, a cooperative citizen."

Kim applied for permanent residence in 2004, to make it convenient for him to travel in and out of the country. Holders of green cards are allowed to live in China for any length of time and can enter and depart the country without visas.

Shenzhen STS Microelectronics was established in 1994 as a joint venture company between STMicroelectronics and Shenzhen Electronics Group (SEG). STMicroelectronics is a global independent semiconductor company with strong European roots.

Eight other expatriates in Shenzhen have been approved for green cards, but the police did not say when the cards will be presented to them.

Last year there were about 260,000 foreigners holding stable jobs in China, according to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. China launched the green card in August 2004 to attract more skilled foreign professionals and investors. However, there have been complaints that obtaining a green card is extremely difficult.

To qualify for the green card, applicants must be leading business professionals and experts in a given field who have made "outstanding contributions, or are of special importance to China," according to the rules on green cards.

Those coming to China to for family reunion with their Chinese wife or husband and those investing over US$500,000 in the country are also eligible.

Cui Zhikun, director of the Bureau of Exit-Entry Administration of the Ministry of Public Security, said at the end of last year that procedures for green cards may be revised.

"We've heard complaints that the existing requirements for foreigners to get permanent residence in China are too stringent, and we're studying possible changes," Cui said.

Editor: Wing

By:Peng Fei Source:Szdaily web edition
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