'Green card' process may get easier
2012-December-28 Source: Szdaily web edition
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Foreigners who live in China for 10 consecutive years could become eligible for a "green card" under a proposed regulation.

The draft regulation and related amendments to ease requirements for permanent residency are being considered by the Ministry of Public Security, China Daily reported yesterday.

Liu Guofu, an immigration law expert at the Beijing Institute of Technology, revealed that the ministry proposed lowering the threshold for applicants at a symposium in August, and is gauging feedback from experts.

Liu said the draft mostly targets immigrants in the field of technology who will be able to apply for permanent residency after living in China for 10 consecutive years, provided they have spent at least nine months of each year in the country. They must be employed, have accommodations and a good tax record. The success of their application will no longer be dependent on the position they hold.

Current regulations require applicants in the technology sector, for example, to hold a position of at least deputy general manager or associate professor for at least four consecutive years.

If the draft is approved, more foreigners would be eligible to apply for a 'green card.'

China started to grant permanent residency permits to foreigners in 2004. More than 4,700 foreigners have received permits since then.

China approved about 248 applications in the technological sector annually from 2004 to 2011, a rather low rate for a country eager for expertise, Liu said.

The stringent requirements are part of the reason for the small numbers, Liu said.

"The current method of evaluating a foreigner's contribution to China by the rank of his post is one-sided and also deters overseas expertise from coming," he said.

Other than assessing the rank of applicants, he suggested the government classify foreigners by sectors and list the most required skills needed for potential immigrants.

As for investment immigration, where applicants set up a commercial enterprise, Liu said the draft also proposes reducing the investment criteria.

China's first legislation covering the exit and entry of Chinese citizens and foreigners, the Law on the Exit and Entry Administration, was passed in June and will take effect in July 2013. It allows for an increase in the number of "green cards."

Editor: Jecey
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