New measures have been introduced that cut the minimum waiting time for foreigners seeking residence permits in Beijing by five days.
The measures were introduced on Saturday, according to the Exit-Entry Department of the municipal Public Security Bureau.
Previously, it took at least 15 working days to secure a residence permit, but under the new policy this has been reduced to 10, said Che Yan, director of the bureau's Administration Department.
Che didn't say whether all foreigners' residence permit applications will be processed in 10 working days. But he said more staff members using improved technology will be handling this work.
"We'll definitely cut the time that we hold foreigners' passports," he said.
The documents required for residence permit applicants－including passports, photographs and application forms－will not change, Che said. Neither will the fees.
A foreigner must submit an application to extend a permit 30 days before the old one expires. Changes to a foreign resident's living or working details, such as marital status or phone number, must be updated with the bureau within 10 days, he said.
Liu Jiewei, a police officer responsible for handling foreigners' visas, outlined those likely to benefit most from the new policy.
These are foreigners holding positions ranked from vice-president upward in overseas investment enterprises, or who are technology experts with companies at Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park, who are members of the government-backed 1,000 Talent Plan or the national Recruitment Program of Global Experts.
For example, Liu said foreign experts now have to renew their residence permits annually if they want to live in Beijing continually, but the new policy allows certain overseas experts to extend their permits by two to five years.
Foreign experts can obtain a multiple-visit or talent visa that may allow them to stay for not more than 180 days on each visit, Liu said.
"We will strictly verify qualifications for the programme," he said, adding that the bureau will rely heavily on documents provided by the Zhongguancun Science Park, a State-designated pilot zone for global talent.
Ada Jen, a government affairs manager at the International School of Beijing, said she is glad to see the changes and thinks they are "hugely convenient" for foreigners in Beijing to obtain longer stays and multiple-entry visas for work.
"It's great to hear that the police will shorten the time for which they keep our passports to issue residence permits, which can sometimes take a month and make it impossible for us to travel," Jen said.
"The faster the police handle our applications, the more convenient it will be for us to work and live in Beijing," she said.