More foreigners get China PR

Chinese green cards help attract talent from abroad, enhance country's interaction with world, official says

A larger number of Chinese permanent residency permits were issued in 2012 than in previous years, a police official said.

Zheng Baigang, head of the Ministry of Public Security's Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration, told China Daily that 1,202 permits were granted last year, up more than 83 per cent from the previous year.

Of those who received the permits, more than half are family members who came for a reunion and the rest are mostly professionals, executives and professors, according to the ministry.Most are from the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and Germany, and mainly live in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

"The principle of China's 'green card' regulation is to attract foreign talent to promote economic and social development and enhance international communication," Zheng said.

Applicants with higher education backgrounds and business experience are more likely to get the permits, he said.

Ada Jen, a Chinese American who applied for a Chinese permanent residency permit in 2011, said it brings her a sense of belonging, which she eagerly wants in China.

The permit can provide some privileges and more convenience in the country, such as social insurance and reduced work restrictions, said the 66-year-old, who is a government affairs director at an international school in Beijing.

"I have to go back to the US once or twice every year to see my family, and the green card reduces exit-entry troubles," she said, adding many of her friends intend to apply for the certificate.

"But not everyone has the chance to get the card, because of the strict application requirements," she said.

The ministry is working with the Foreign Ministry to draft a document that could help issue more permits and make the application easier, the Ministry of Public Security said earlier.

Mu Yansong, an official with the Beijing Exit-Entry Administration, said 266 foreigners applied for Chinese residency permits in Beijing last year, up from 176 in 2010.

Mu said more than 1,000 foreigners in the capital have become permanent Chinese residents since 2004, enjoying convenient exit-entry procedures.

"The number of foreigners who come to the administration for consulting and getting knowledge about the 'green card' can reach 20 every day, let alone those who call us to learn about the policy," he said.

The rising demand has prompted the administration to establish a window especially for green card consultation and application.

Beijing has about 118,000 foreign residents.

There were 633,000 foreigners living in China by the end of 2012, up from 525,000 in 2010.