On August 15, 2004, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security jointly promulgated the "Details of the application for ‘Alien Permanent Residence Permit' in China." It stipulates that qualified foreign applicants will be approved with "Alien Permanent Residence Permit" issued by the Chinese government. The holder of permit will no longer need to apply for visa for entering, living in and working in China.
Many people call the permit the Chinese "greencard". This indicates that China will open the door to attract foreign talent to China.
From "prohibition" to "greencard"
Hao Keming, Chinese Chief Representative of WWF, paid his first to China in 1976. He recalled that at that time every foreigner must be accompanied by Chinese wherever he/she goes. In many places there were obvious warning signs reminding that these places are "not opened to foreigners." After 1985, Beijing revoked the prohibition against foreigners in urban area. But Hao Keming believes that foreigners were still under certain restriction in the 1980s. For example, foreigners visiting suburbs or countryside must return to the city to live in at night. "Such restrictions gradually disappeared until the 1990s." In 2003, Beijing canceled restrictions on foreigners to live in assigned places. In September 2004, 28 foreigners became the first group to get the "Alien Permanent Residence Permit", one of them is Joan Hinton, 83-year-old American woman who has been working in China for more than 20 years.
From 1985 to 2004, the Chinese government has approved more than 3,000 foreigners to settle in China. In 2004 there have more than 200,000 foreigners living in China.
Over 200 foreigners obtained "green cards" in Beijing
Nowadays, more and more foreigners yearn for having a Chinese "greencard." Chief Representative of Vladivostok Air Beijing Office who has been living in Beijing for six years told reporters that he has brought his wife and children to China and will apply for the "greencard" once possible.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, in the five years after China joined the World Trade Organization, more and more foreigners came to visit China. The average annual increase reached 10%. In 2006, foreigners that entered and exited China reached 44.24 million, an increase of 97.6% over 2001. In 2005, the number of foreigners living in China for more than one year reached 380,000. In 2006, more than 70,000 registered foreigners in Beijing stay here for over one year with a proper job, excluding the around 7,000 working staff and their family members in foreign embassies in China. By now, over 200 foreigners in Beijing have obtained the "greencard."
"Greencard" holders contribute to China's development
On May 12, 2006, Kim Byung Gun (Korean) received the "Alien Permanent Residence Permit" from Harbin City mayor and became the first foreigner approved with the "greencard" in Heilongjiang Province. "I think this demonstrates the great trust and most sincere friendship of the Chinese government towards foreign friends," Kim said.
Wee Ee Cheong, former president of Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China said, "The ‘greencard' system can save foreigners working and doing business in China from tedious procedure work for updating residence and employment permits every year." Claudio, an Italian who has been to China for 15 years said that every foreigner who loves China would say "hello" to the "greencard" cordially and loudly.
Some domestic scholars point out that some of the foreigners with "greencard" play a positive role in promoting China's economic development. In Shanghai, there are actually about 34,753 foreigners working in the city, coming from 119 countries. 81.6% of them are employees in the nearly 20,000 foreign-funded enterprises in Shanghai, mainly as middle (or above) rank managers or senior technical experts. In the Shanghai offices of foreign banks and companies, foreign employees account for 13.5%.
By People's Daily Online