Image credit: @u-suke.
China’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees immigration, is considering a draft regulation which proposes a number of amendments to ease requirements for permanent residency.
According to Liu Guofu, an immigration law expert at the Beijing Institute of Technology, the draft regulation proposes allowing foreigners who have lived in the country for 10 consecutive years to apply for permanent residency, providing they have spent at least 9 months of each year in China. Applicants must also be employed, have accommodation and a good tax record.
Current regulations require applicants to hold a position of at least deputy general manager or associate professor for at least four successive years. The draft regulation would do away with such position based requirements.
A mere 4,700 foreigners have been granted permanent residency since China started allowing foreigners to apply for such in 2004. In contrast, the US gave out over 1 million ‘green cards’ in 2011 alone, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics (pdf).
Wang Huiyao, an official at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said that the government is also planning to broaden the use of green cards (for the lucky few that currently have them). A new immigration document for permanent residents, which may be available as soon as next month, will allow holders to enjoy equal rights to Chinese citizens “expect for the right to elect and be elected” [Ed: Ha!].
As anyone who has ever visited China, let alone tried to live here, knows, the Chinese immigration process is woefully outdated and stringent considering the quantity of people clamouring to live and work in the country.