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'Green card' process may get easier (2)

By ZHAO YINAN  (China Daily)

13:34, November 19, 2012

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

Beijing police said that out of about 850 foreigners who had applied for the permits, more than 780 applications had been approved by mid-October.

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 low 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.

Wang Huiyao, deputy director of China Talent Research, an institute affiliated to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said the government is also planning to broaden the use of green cards.

He said the human resources authority will soon release a document that allows green card holders to enjoy equal rights as Chinese citizens, except for the right to elect and be elected.

He said the document was signed this month and will be introduced possibly as early as December.

Under the new document, green card holders will be able to use the card as a travel certificate, such as checking in at hotels, he said.

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