• Foreign residents in China increase every year.

Foreign residents in China increase every year. (Photo : Getty Images)

The Beijing Public Security Bureau said on Thursday that foreigners will only need to obtain a health check certificate to be approved by one agency only.

In the previous system, foreigners would have to go through three departments, namely the Public Security Bureau, the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau and the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

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Lin Song, an official of Beijing's Entry and Exit Department, said, "The multiple submission of the certificate caused unnecessary financial expenditure and inconvenience for applicants."

Foreigners can now get a residency permit after getting a work permit from the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, according to Lin.

There were foreigners who would submit the certificate to the police would have had to return to the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau to get another certificate.

Gao Xiang, a senior official with the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), said that the office plans to set up a single and separate government body for processing of residency permits.

"A pilot program will start soon to standardize the qualifications and process for issuing a work permit for foreigners, and the national unified applications procedures are expected to be carried out," he said.

Many foreign residents in China are individuals who are working for cultural, education, healthcare and research institutions, most of which are run by the government.

The expats must obtain an alien employment certificate from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

According to the U.N. report, "Trends in Migrant Stock", released in 2015, there are 848,511 foreign immigrants in China. Hong Kong has above 2 million foreign residents.

The Annual Report on Chinese International Migration in 2015 issued by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) indicated that there is an increase of 3.9 percent in the foreign resident population every year.