Many foreigners living in China have already availed their residency permits due to the relaxed requirements, but another issue has arisen: the permits have little to no use. (Photo : Getty Images)
The Chinese government is introducing new policies to address foreigners’ concerns regarding the permanent residents’ permit, a piece of documentation that has been notoriously difficult to obtain, according to an article by China Daily.
Many foreigners living in China have already availed their residency permits due to the relaxed requirements, but another issue has arisen up: the permits have little to no use.
Green card holders claim that the permit can't even be used to buy train tickets.
To put a solution to the dilemma, the central government has implemented a set of new policies on Thursday, Feb. 18. The new policies aim to increase the use of green cards, which in turn are believed to attract more foreign talent to work or study in the country.
"The document aims to provide indiscriminatory treatment for green card holders," said Gao Xiang, a spokesman of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. "It is international practice to give permanent residents the same entitlements as local citizens."
"We already had regulations covering permanent residency, but the terms relating to treatment of foreigners were not carried out thoroughly," added Gao. "With an increasing level of openness and higher frequency of personnel exchanges, we had to introduce a more practical system to cover foreigners' rights and obligations."
Permanent residency permits for foreigners were first introduced in China in 2004. Four years ago, a provision that deals with the treatment of green card holders was introduced by 25 ministries and central government departments. Despite the efforts, the terms weren't properly implemented.
Thanks to the new policies, a guideline will be followed when it comes to green card holders seeking equal treatment as Chinese citizens. There will be specific guidelines on obtaining social security coverage, buying homes, or enrolling in schools.
Foreigners living in China are hopeful that the new policies will be carried out.
"I think that if foreigners are allowed to buy property or exchange renminbi at banks like Chinese citizens, this would be very attractive and rather useful," said Eugene Gregoryanz, a physicist from the University of Edinburgh. He is currently employed at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Heifei Institutes of Physical Science as part of the 1,000 Talent Plan.