By releasing a draft of a new set of regulations, China is opening a new channel to attract foreign investors. New rules would ease the old standards of 2004 regulations for obtaining the Chinese “Green Card”, which is the world’s hardest green cards to obtain, even for foreigners living there for several years. On March 27, 2020, China ended a consultation on new regulations that qualify foreigners to obtain permanent residency, based on education, income and work experience.
Who is eligible under the new amendments?
If you are one of the following 6 categories, you can apply for permanent residence:
You can apply for foreign permanent residency if you make investments in China for three years according to the Foreign Investment Law; possess a sound tax and credit record; and meet any of the following circumstances:
- Made at least RMB 10 million (US$1.43 million) investments in China (after it was US$2 million according to the old regulations).
- Made investments in areas encouraged by China under certain conditions.
- Set up high-tech or innovation firms in China and are recommended by provincial-level governments. (This is a new area proposed by the decree in addition to what was in the 2004 regulations.)
Category of Expertise, Income, and Study:
You may as a foreign citizen apply for permanent residency if you are working in China, have good tax and credit records, and fulfil one of the following situations:
- Having a PHD degree or graduated from a well-known international university, and having worked in China for at least three successive years, during which the accumulated actual residence period is not less than one year (after it was six months per year).
- Working in one of the key industries or regions developed by the State for three successive years, during which the accumulated actual residence period is not less than one year (After it was six months per year). And the annual wage income is not less than four times the city average of the previous year (After it was six times).
- Having worked in China for successive four years, during which the accumulated actual residence period is not less than two years, and the annual wage income is not less than six times of the average city wage of the previous year.
- Having worked in China for eight successive years, during which the accumulated actual residence period is not less than four years, and the annual wage income is not less than three times of the city average in the previous year.
Urgently needed skills and talent:
- If you have skills that China considers an urgent necessity, you can apply for permanent residence on conditions that these talents are what the state considers to be key industry and regions and recommended by the competent authority.
- Professionals recommended by foreigners who have obtained permanent residence status owing to their internationally recognized achievements.
- In addition to Academicians and researchers with titles of assistant professors and above who have been introduced and recommended by the state’s key universities and research institutions.
- This category also includes High-tech enterprises, innovative enterprises, and senior management personnel and senior professional technicians introduced and recommended by domestic well-known enterprises.
Spouse, Children, or Elderly Relatives:
A foreign citizen’s spouse and children can apply for permanent residency at the same time. Moreover, those who need a family reunion can apply for permanent residency if they fall into one of the following circumstances:
- The spouse is a Chinese citizen or a foreigner who resides permanently in China and has lived with the spouse in China for five years after marriage, and has accumulated actual residence of not less than nine months each year, with stable living security and residence.
- Children under the age of eighteen residing in China or with foreign parents permanently residing in China.
- Old people who have reached the age of sixty, have no immediate relatives abroad, and depend on immediate relatives of Chinese nationality living in China or foreign relatives of permanent nationality who have permanently resided in China (must have stayed in China for five consecutive years, residing no less than 9 months every year.
Foreign citizens who have achieved internationally recognized outstanding achievements in the fields of economy, science and technology, education, culture, health, and sports can directly apply for permanent residency without requiring a minimum residence period in China. These achievements are not required to be achieved in China.
Foreign citizens are also entitled to apply for permanent residence for other legitimate reasons.
It is worth noting that foreigners who obtain citizenship by investment in Grenada can travel to China visa-free. This is a distinguishing feature of Grenada citizenship, one of the strongest nationalities of the Caribbean countries.