Editor’s Note: China’s broken immigration system has been a topic of discussion for some time now. Last year, policies were eased in Beijing and Shanghai, making it slightly less impossible for foreigners to obtain green cards. Now, China plans to open an immigration office in the hope to attract more overseas talent. However, the elusive green card seems to still only be accessible for those making a fairly high salary for most living in China.
China has recognized that its immigration system is holding the nation back and plans to set up its first immigration office. The nation was recently accepted as a full member of the International Organization for Migration after 15 years of observer status. The main reason for China’s decision to open an immigration office is to attract international talent.
Bloomberg News reported earlier this week that informed sources have confirmed that China’s plans to open the institution. Insiders said that the bureau would be created by merging the ministry’s border control and exit-entry administrative branches. Get your application ready: the immigration office may be established before the end of 2016.
Avoiding the Middle-Income Trap
Bloomberg analysts say that China hopes that the new policies will help attract overseas talent. The government has realized that an immigration office could be an important step in reducing the nation’s reliance on the manufacturing and investment sectors. This would help China avoid falling into the “middle-income trap” that is known to stall growth for developing countries.
Center for China and Globalization (CCG) president Wang Huiyao said to Bloomberg that he believes the days where China could rely on its large population to bolster huge economic growth have passed, and new overseas talent will help support the nation’s future economic growth.
Wang Huiyao told The Paper that China hopes to establish an immigration system that is up to international standards. He hopes that a new and improved system will make foreigners feel more welcome.
The World’s Most Difficult Green Card
China’s permanent resident permit for foreigners is currently known as the “world’s most difficult green card to apply for.” CGC reported that from 2004 to 2014, only 7,300 foreigners obtained permanent residence permits in China.
Last June, the Ministry of Public Security introduced legislation to make it easier for foreigners to obtain green cards in Beijing and Shanghai. Programs also launched in Fujian and Guangdong for those in construction and innovation. Wang Huiyao said that the biggest difference is that the police outlines the exact salary a foreigner must make to obtain a green card. “In the past, you had to be working in a certain field or have a certain specialty. Now, in Beijing, you have to make 500,000 RMB a year (you must pay at least 100,000 RMB in taxes) in order to apply for a green card.”
On March 1 2016, permanent resident permits became available under the new guidelines in Zhongguancun, Beijing. In four months, more than 300 people received a green card. In the old system, about 300 people would get green cards in the entire year.
0.04% of the Population
The number of expats living in China has increased greatly over recent years. There are about 600,000 foreigners living in Mainland China. However, compared to the 1.37 billion Chinese citizens, the proportion of foreigners living in China is relatively small.
The UN has reported that foreigners in China only make up about 0.04% of the population. In other countries, expats generally make up about 3% of the population. In developed countries they make up 10% of the population, and in developing countries about 1.6%. In India, expats are 0.6% of the population. In 2010, foreigners made up 0.5% of Beijing’s population.
Wang Huiyao said that China currently has no policy framework through which to attract foreign talent. This puts China at a big disadvantage.
Will liberalizing China’s immigration policies affect local employment? Wang Huiyao said, “Foreign talent often creates more jobs and new services. Foreigners and locals are not in direct competition, and complement each other in solving China’s structural issues. The government will make sure the two are not in direct competition.”
Vice president of Chinese Academy of Governance Wang Yukai said that having a threshold for immigration is very important. “Even with the establishment of an immigration system, the government will have a very rigorous screening process for candidates,” he said.
Source: QQ News
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China needs to extend the same offer other developed countries do for Chinese citizens. I don't know why China continues to act like talented foreigners (or even just foreigners in general) need to EARN their way into China. China is not a top choice... not even close. It offers foreigners basically the chance to be a scapegoat and kow-tow to their government. It teaches Chinese that foreigners are just a welcomed guest that need to be scooted out the door, once they start suggesting changes or improvements. Unfortunately, China will never be a permanent place of residence (they will always leave) for those (foreigners) who may actually have the ability to change the country for the better.
Jul 25, 2016 21:30 Report Abuse
1. "the government will make sure the two are not in competition" of course not, they just block superior service! 2. The income trap for the green card is also false. If it would be so easy to get a green card just if you earn 500000 RMB per year, I would already have one. There are several other restrictions bound to this. If i remember correctly you have had this salary for at least 2 year (or 5?) etc.
Jul 25, 2016 10:50 Report Abuse
To me this sounds like. "Oh shit we are kicking out ALL the foreign people" "Why don't SUPER COOL foreign people want to come to great China!". If I was highly qualified or had a successful business somewhere, this is the last place I would consider being. I would 100% open a business in China and then leave it but living here would be foolish. Just to note $100,000AUD is not rich ECC. It's middle class. China is trying to get middle class citizens of my country to come here. wtf...
Jul 25, 2016 08:07 Report Abuse