• Expats in China

Expats in China (Photo : Getty Images)

According to a plan released by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), a series of green card reforms has been started to give expats in China easier access to public services, hence attracting more foreign talents to work in the country.

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The “foreigner's permanent residence card” will now be called the “foreigner's permanent residence identity card.”

Just like the Chinese citizen identity cards, the information on the foreigner’s identity will be implanted in the chips on machine-readable cards. The data will be shared by railways, airlines, insurance agencies, hotels and banks.

Machines could not recognize the old version of the cards, giving foreigners identity authentication problems, an official of the ministry said.

“The card makes everything easier,” according to Jonathan, an American who has been living in the country for more than 20 years and was issued a green card three years ago.

“What's inconvenient is that so few foreigners have them, and people don't know how to deal with it,” Jonathan shared.

“I hope that staff at both government departments and service sectors will be more familiar with its functions,” he added.

Foreigners can file their application for the new version of permanent residence identity card at the original registration authority.

People who have the old version may still use the cards until the expiration date.

The reform plan was approved by the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform. Its objective is to meet the country’s talent development strategy, the MPS official said.

China is aiming to lure in foreign talent, specifically in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, by addressing social concerns of expats. The reform is planned to give foreigners easier access to services offered by the government.

The related technical work is scheduled to be completed by June. Foreigners can then file their applications for the new card.

Last year, 1,576 foreigners were granted permanent residency in China. According to the MPS, the number has increased by 163 percent compared to that of the previous year.

Since Sept. 2015, China has made significant developments in easing its residence and entry policies for foreigners. The changes have assisted in attracting more talent from abroad and have encouraged international exchanges.

The Chinese government is positive that green card reforms will bring more expats to China.