Shanghai makes residency easier for foreign experts

Updated: Apr 3, 2018 China Daily Print
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Nobel Prize laureate Kurt Wuethrich of Switzerland receives a permanent residence card along with five others in Shanghai on Monday. [Photo/China News Service]

Shanghai streamlined the procedures on Monday for highly skilled foreigners working in the municipality to get their residence permits within three working days through an online application, the municipality's latest measure to attract such overseas workers.

High-level professionals identified by national or Shanghai authorities who manage human resources or foreign experts affairs will only need to go to and submit documents, according to the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. They can retrieve their permits at exit-entry offices after three working days.

"High-end professionals employed by the 8,818 enterprises on a list seen as key leaders in Shanghai's quest to become a global technological innovation hub by 2030 will also become beneficiaries of the new measure," said Xin Wenke of the information office of the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau.

The enterprises include high-tech and new technology companies or those in finance and strategic emerging fields, regional headquarters of multinational companies, and research and development centers that include foreign investment.

The initiative in Shanghai, the first and the only one in the country, simplifies application procedures and assists the establishment of a talent system that is globally competitive, the bureau said.

Before the measure was unveiled, applicants had to visit exit-entry offices and go through the formalities in person. The offices sometimes required interviews or supplementary materials. The procedure from start to finish typically took seven working days.

Measures were unveiled in Shanghai in 2015 aimed at attracting talented people from overseas. In January, application requirements for permanent residency were further eased for the core foreign members of top scientific research teams and outstanding foreign university graduates who had worked in the city for three straight years.

Also on Monday, Shanghai granted a permanent residence card, known as the Chinese green card, to a Nobel Prize laureate for the first time.

The recipient was Kurt Wuethrich from Switzerland, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2002 and is a chaired professor at ShanghaiTech University.

Shanghai police declined to reveal the number of expats holding Chinese green cards in the municipality. According to the Ministry of Public Security, in 2016 alone 1,576 foreigners became permanent residents in China, up 163 percent year-on-year.

Chinese green cards became machine-readable in July to make foreign permanent residents' daily lives and work easier. Similar to second generation Chinese citizens' ID cards, the smart cards contain a chip in which the foreigner's identity information is kept, and the information is shared with railways, airlines, hotels and banks.

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