NEW Guidelines for Permanent Residence to China! 2021

China has released new measures for getting your green card (permanent residence)! Be sure to take a look!

Since the Measures for the Administration on Examination and Approval for Foreigners’ Permanent Residence (hereinafter as “Measures”) came into effect in 2004, the standards for foreigners to apply for PRC Green Card were always pretty high. With the development of China’s “Opening-up” policy and the increasing demands of overseas talents, the government has issued a number of relevant policies for foreigners to facilitate their residency in China step by step, including the Opinions on Strengthening the Administration of Permanent Residence Services for Foreigners (hereinafter as “Opinions“) issued by the State Council in 2016 and the 12 Policies on Immigration and Entry – Exit Facilitation (hereinafter as “12 Policies”) issued by the National Immigration Administration in August 2019.

The Ministry of Justice issued the Regulations on the Administration of Foreigners’ Permanent Residence (Exposure Draft) (2020) (hereinafter as “Exposure Draft”) on February 27, 2020. Since its release, the Draft has drawn much attention from expats living in China and from Chinese citizens. Compared with the previous policies, the Draft developed so much that it could become the new landmark of China’s permanent residence status (hereinafter as “PR Status”). This article will highlight the key points of the Draft as below, for your kind reference.

Who is eligible under the Exposure Draft?

The current Draft provides six categories of people that are eligible for permanent residency, including foreigners with outstanding contributions, foreigners with international recognized achievements, foreign talents introduced into China, foreigners working in China, foreigners making investment in China and foreigners who have family members living in China. The specific requirements of each category are summarized as follows:

1. 1 Foreigners with Outstanding Contributions

Foreigners who have contributed outstandingly towards China’s economic and social development (including development in science, technology, education, culture, health, sports, public welfare, Sino-foreign friendly exchanges, etc.) may apply for the PR Status after having been recommended by local governments at the provincial level.

In the similar category in the 2004 Measures, the expression is that foreigners having made outstanding contributions to China may apply for the PR Status, if they satisfy some routine requirements such as being healthy and with no criminal record. The Draft lists more detailed conditions of the outstanding contributions, which can be regarded as a summary and a continuation of previous policies.

1.2 Foreigners with International Recognized Achievements

Foreign citizens who have achieved internationally recognized outstanding achievements in the fields of economy, science and technology, education, culture, health, or sports can directly apply for permanent residency.

Previously, some cities opened up their immigration policies in accordance with the needs of talents introduction. For example, the policy in Shanghai stipulates that foreigners with internationally recognized outstanding achievements brought to Shanghai can directly apply for permanent residence.

Thus, the Draft can be regarded as a promotion and a replication of previous practices, but the detailed criteria for “internationally recognized outstanding achievements” have not yet been determined by national immigration authorities in consultation with the relevant departments of the State Council.

1.3 Foreign Talents Introduced into China

Foreigners who will be introduced into China for making achievements for China’s economic and social development may apply for the PR Status. Such Foreigners include:

1)Urgently needed talents introduced by the state’s key industries and regions and recommended by the competent authority;

2)Academicians and researchers with titles of assistant professors and above who have been introduced and recommended by the state’s key universities and research institutions, and professors and researchers who have been introduced and recommended by other universities and research institutions;

3) High-tech enterprises, innovative enterprises, and senior management personnel and senior professional technicians introduced and recommended by domestic well-known enterprises; or

4) Professionals recommended by foreigners who have obtained PR Status owing to their internationally recognized achievements.

The Draft provides that the above-mentioned talents must meet the respective specific qualification requirements. Additionally, applicants must obtain recommendation from either the Chinese authorities or qualified individuals. Further talent identification standards will be made based on consultation with relevant authorities.

1.4 Foreigners Working in China

Under Article 15 of the Draft is the newly added provision that stipulates that a foreign citizen may apply for PR Status if they are working in China with good tax and credit records, and satisfy one of the following situations:

1) Having a doctorate degree or graduated from a well-known international university, and having worked in China for at least three consecutive years, during which the accumulated actual residence period is not less than one year;

2)Working in one of the key industries or regions developed by the State for three consecutive years, during which the accumulated actual residence period is not less than one year, and the annual income is not less than four times of local average income of the previous year;

3)Having worked in China for four consecutive years, during which the accumulated actual residence period is not less than two years, and the annual income is not less than six times of local average income of the previous year;

4)Having worked in China for eight consecutive years, during which his accumulated actual residence period is not less than four years, and the annual income is not less than three times of local average income of the previous year.

There is a similar category in the Measures. However, the scope of eligibility under that category is quite narrower. Therefore, few applicants met the requirements at that time. The 12 Policies relaxed the previous requirements on the position level for applicants, so that the requirements of introducing foreign talents are more in line with the market evaluation and the market demand.

The Draft, on the basis of the 12 Policies, further relaxed the conditions and requirements for the China PR Status, by extending the policy that was previously applicable to Chinese expatriates to ordinary foreigners, increasing the cases of which people can apply for continuous work and actual residence, and relaxing the requirements for income and tax standards.