Foreign members of entrepreneurial and innovation teams and non-native technical talents selected by enterprises in the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) may apply for a permanent residency (PR) permit upon meeting eligibility criteria. This is a breakthrough for the Hengqin Free Trade Zone, it was stated at an interpretation conference held there on Nov 8.
Sixteen new immigration measures passed by the Ministry of Public Security took effect in Guangdong Province on Aug 1 to support innovation-driven development of the Guangdong FTZ. This encompassing zone includes the Qianhai Cooperation-Shekou Industrial zones in western Shenzhen, Nansha in Guangzhou, and Hengqin in Zhuhai. The policies offer convenience for foreign high-level talents and entrepreneurs to immigrate and reside in the areas.
Overseas visitors at Hengqin Exhibition Hall [Photo by Fang Junming / Zhuhai Daily]
Ten policies are applicable to the entire province and six only to the Guangdong FTZ. Apart from the aforementioned measure, three of 16 policies help to fill a void in the Hengqin FTZ:
1. Students from overseas educational institutions, invited by entities in a Guangdong FTZ and registered with the Guangdong Exit-Entry Administration Bureau, are eligible for a short-term Personal Affairs-Type Residency Permit indicating “Internship” upon arrival.
2. Upon graduation from Chinese educational institutions, alien students can apply for two-year Residency Permits under the Private Affairs category in order to work in Guangdong Province.
3. Highly skilled foreign nationals and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan under a PR or Work-Type Residency Permit may now apply for a Personal Affairs-Type Residency Permit for their housekeepers.
Besides, the new policies simplify application procedures and broaden residence requirements. For example, foreign investors in the Free Trade Zone can apply for PR status if they meet the minimum investment amount of $1 million and have maintained steady operations there for three consecutive years. The minimum volume of investment requirement in Hengqin is $2 million currently. Another example shows that foreign nationals working in Guangdong who have not violated Chinese law can apply for a less than five-year Z (work) visa for the third time.
The new entry-exit policies will greatly facilitate expatriates working in Hengqin, attract more talents for start-up and innovation, and boost FTZ construction, according to a government official in Hengqin.