China to Offer More 'Green Cards'

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More permanent residency permits, often referred to as "green cards", easier visa-free entry and greater incentives to attract foreign expertise, are some of the measures that will be adopted by the Chinese government to make the economy more competitive.

Yang Huanning, deputy minister of public security, said, in a report delivered to the top legislature, that the ministry will increase the permanent residency quota and consider issuing more multiple-entry visas to boost competitiveness.

The suggested measures follow hot on the heels of proposals to introduce a new visa category to streamline applications for workers with specialized experience.

Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said last month that China will boost efforts this year to streamline visa and residency permit procedures, and introduce more accommodating policies for foreigners in relation to social insurance, tax, medical services, education for their children and academic funding.

The number of foreigners who stayed for at least six months rose to 600,000 in 2011 from fewer than 20,000 in 1980, according to Yang.

By the end of 2011, 4,752 foreigners had obtained a permanent residency permit, the equivalent of a green card in the US.

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