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Who Can Apply For China Permanent Residence?

According to past regulations, there are four categories of foreigners who can apply for China permanent residency, or the so-called “Chinese Green Card”: employment category, investment category, special contribution category, and relative dependency category. Of these, applicants in the employment category must meet the requirements for the type of employment unit and the level of the position. Specifically, the applicant must work for the State Council or provincial government, key universities and high-tech enterprises. At the same time, the applicant must also hold the position of deputy general manager, deputy factory director or above, or have an associate senior title or above, or enjoy the same treatment. Applicants in the special contribution category are foreigners who have made significant and outstanding contributions to China and are in special need of the country, as in the case of Marbury, who applied for a “China Green Card”.

The new policy lowers the threshold for applicants in the category of employment and special contribution, and grants the following three categories of foreigners the eligibility to apply: 1) foreign high-level talents; 2) foreigners working in China who have worked continuously for four years, have actually resided in China for at least six months each year, and whose annual wage income is not less than six times the average wage of urban workers on the job in the region where they work in the previous year, and whose annual personal income tax payment is not less than 20% of the standard annual wage income; 3) foreigners working in China who have made significant and outstanding contributions to China and the country’s special needs. (3) Foreign Chinese working in China, with doctoral degree or working continuously in the key development areas of the country for four years and actually residing for not less than six months per year.

Of the three new categories, the second and third categories are an expansion of the tenure category applicants and cover a wider population.

The inclusion of the second category breaks the past requirements of the category of employment unit and position level for applicants in the tenure category, making the determination of imported foreign talents more relevant to market evaluation and market demand. Foreigners working in general enterprises and foreigners without senior titles and not holding senior leadership positions can henceforth apply for permanent residence.

The determination of the third category of talent specifically requires foreign Chinese status. Compared to non-Chinese foreigners, foreign Chinese need to meet much more lenient application requirements: foreign Chinese only need to have a doctoral degree or meet the time and place requirements for work and residence, and do not need to earn a high salary or pay high taxes. The “national key development areas” required in the conditions are yet to be clarified, but with reference to the scope of the pilot areas, the key development areas should roughly include free trade zones, national innovation demonstration zones, comprehensive innovation reform demonstration zones and national new zones.

Who Can Apply For China Permanent Residence?

The first category of talents can be regarded as an expansion of the special contribution category of applicants, and the coverage is narrower than the second and third categories. Currently, the criteria for identifying “foreign high-level talents” are generally similar but slightly different. In general, foreign high-level talents are divided into four categories: 1) winners of prestigious awards or high-level talent programs; 2) renowned experts and scholars; 3) outstanding talents and professionals in enterprises; and 4) other special talents with special expertise and in urgent need of local shortage. The so-called “enterprise outstanding talents, professional talents”, in practice, mainly refers to state-owned enterprises, high-tech enterprises, multinational companies and specific types of foreign-funded enterprises, as well as other enterprises above the scale (limit) of senior management, technical personnel and scientific research backbone.

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