China to make permanent residency easier for outsiders

Beijing, February 19

China plans to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in the country under new rules for obtaining permanent residency, the government said today, amid efforts to stimulate flagging economy with more inward investment.

Guidelines issued by China’s Cabinet aim to expand categories of foreigners in China eligible to obtain Chinese equivalent of a US green card. Procedures will be simplified and restrictions relaxed on foreign students seeking jobs

in the country.

China’s economy posted its slowest growth in a quarter century last year, expanding 6.9 per cent. Officials expect growth this year of between 6.5 and seven per cent, while once-robust interest among foreign investors is falling amid complaints over excessive government interference.

Growth is slowing as the country’s communist leaders try to wean the economy off export-led manufacturing and instead focus on more self-sustaining domestic consumption and services.

More than 7,000 foreigners have obtained permanent residency since the policy was adopted in 2004, a small fraction of the roughly 600,000 living in China.