In parallel with its newly implemented work permit system that categorizes foreign employees into 3 classes, China is reforming its permanent residence cards (Green Cards) to ease foreign experts’ lives in China.
The “Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card” will be renamed as the “Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Identity Card.” Just like the Chinese Identity Cards. The new ID cards will have a chip embedded that will ease the access to several social services in China, such as purchasing train and air tickets, bank transactions and hotel check-ins, etc.
Chinese “Green Card” is generally considered one of the hardest to obtain. Since 2004, when the government introduced this, only around 7,000 green cards have been issued. However, within the previous year the number of card holders has increased dramatically. “In 2016, 1,576 foreigners became new permanent residents of China. That’s up 163% from the previous year, according to China’s Ministry of Public Security.”
Keep in mind that not every foreign who resides in China is eligible for this card. Applicants must be in a specific tier based upon the visa class ranking system that has recently been implemented by Chinese authorities. This ranking system is based upon expert skills and attributes that they bring to the Chinese labor market. Some recent green card holders include high level business and technology executives, in addition to individuals who have out-performed expectations and brought value to China and Chinese companies.