Global hunt for top skills ac­cel­er­ates KEY NUM­BERS

More tal­ent to be sought as the na­tion eyes spe­cial pol­icy to boost its ap­peal

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By HE DAN and CAO YIN

China will speed up the ex­plo­ration of im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies this year to at­tract skilled for­eign work­ers, a se­nior of­fi­cial said on Thurs­day.

How­ever, Zhang Jian­guo, head of the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of For­eign Ex­perts Af­fairs, did not give de­tails on when the poli­cies will be in­tro­duced.

Ex­perts said Zhang’s re­marks show that China may, for the first time, sin­gle out skilled work­ers as a spe­cial cat­e­gory in its gen­eral im­mi­gra­tion po­lices, as the coun­try faces a short­age of such work­ers.

Wang Huiyao, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for China and Glob­al­iza­tion, said the govern­ment ur­gently needs to re­vise its im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies to at­tract more highly skilled for­eign­ers.

“China’s pop­u­la­tion is ag­ing quickly and we also need more skilled work­ers for our eco­nomic up­grad­ing,” he said. China needs to loosen its im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, in­clud­ing giv­ing cit­i­zen­ship to skilled for­eign na­tion­als, he added.

Such im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies are com­mon in Western coun­tries, which roll out fa­vor­able mea­sures for the skilled for­eign work­ers they lack.

China has ex­pe­ri­enced a tal­ent “deficit” for years. In 2012 alone, more than 148,000 Chi­nese ob­tained over­seas cit­i­zen­ship, while just 1,202 ex­pa­tri­ates were granted per­ma­nent res­i­dency in China, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Wang’s cen­ter on Wed­nes­day.

China usu­ally grants its ver­sion of green cards to for­eign­ers in cer­tain cat­e­gories: Busi­ness­men who have in­vested at least $500,000 in the coun­try; tech­ni­cal per­son­nel such as man­agers; peo­ple with skills “needed by the State” and spouses of Chi­nese na­tion­als, pro­vid­ing their mar­riage has lasted at least five years and they have lived in China for at least nine months in each of those years.

Zhang said his ad­min­is­tra­tion will seek global tal­ent this year to help China achieve a green econ­omy, bet­ter en­vi­ron­men­tal gov­er­nance, agri­cul­tural mod­ern­iza­tion, and to boost Chi­nese com­pa­nies’

brand­ing world­wide. have re­ceived “green cards” in China since the coun­try started to grant for­eign­ers per­ma­nent res­i­dency in 2004. in Bei­jing had per­ma­nent res­i­dency cards by De­cem­ber.

Wang said only 6,000 ex­pa­tri­ates have re­ceived “green cards” in China since the coun­try started to grant for­eign­ers per­ma­nent res­i­dency in 2004.

Most of these green card hold­ers are eth­nic Chi­nese with for­eign pass­ports, or for­eign spe­cial­ists in­vited to work in China un­der govern­ment-funded pro­grams, and their spouses, he said.

Wang sug­gested China re­lease an oc­cu­pa­tion list high­light­ing the pro­fes­sion­als it needs most, and that the list be up­dated ev­ery three to five years. This would give for­eign­ers want­ing to work and live in China some guid­ance, he said.

Ada Jen, a Chi­nese-Amer­i­can granted a green card in Bei­jing in 2012, said the thresh­old for the cards is too high.

“One of the qual­i­fi­ca­tions stip­u­lates that for­eign ap­pli­cants should make spe­cial con­tri­bu­tions to China, but that is hard for us to prove,” she said.

When she ap­plied for the green card she pro­vided sev­eral items, in­clud­ing pho­to­graphs and cer­tifi­cates, to prove that she had worked for more than 10 years as a vol­un­teer in the coun­try.

But she said not all for­eign ap­pli­cants were as for­tu­nate as she was.

“Some of my friends also did great work in the coun­try, but it’s dif­fi­cult for them to get their hands on and sup­ply cer­tifi­cates,” she said. “They couldn’t meet this re­quire­ment, so they had to drop their ap­pli­ca­tions, even if their work was in high de­mand and they wanted to stay here to de­velop it.”

Jen said that if the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties re­lax the process re­quired to ob­tain a card, this will make it more con­ve­nient for more for­eign­ers, es­pe­cially ex­perts in their field, to re­search and study in the coun­try.

Last year, the Bei­jing Exit-En­try Ad­min­is­tra­tion Bureau re­ceived 271 ap­pli­ca­tions from for­eign­ers for green cards. Of these, 147 were from over­seas spe­cial­ists. By De­cem­ber, 911 for­eign­ers in Bei­jing had per­ma­nent res­i­dency cards.

Wang Baorun, head of the ex­i­ten­try ad­min­is­tra­tion in the cap­i­tal, said, “The de­mand has be­come stronger among for­eign­ers re­cently.”

Poli­cies are be­ing re­viewed for for­eign­ers, such as ex­tend­ing the va­lid­ity of the for­eign ex­pert res­i­dence per­mit to five years from one year, Wang Baorun said.

But he said the han­dling of is­sues con­cern­ing for­eign­ers, es­pe­cially those who stay in China il­le­gally, will also be de­vel­oped un­der the Chi­nese Exit-En­try Ad­min­is­tra­tion Law, which took effect in July.

“Our ma­jor work this year is to crack down on il­le­gal on­line em­ploy­ment agen­cies and il­le­gal for­eign teach­ers,” he said, adding that pun­ish­ment will in­clude repa­tri­a­tion.

About 200 for­eign­ers were de­ported from Bei­jing last year, ac­cord­ing to the au­thor­i­ties.

In De­cem­ber, a for­eigner on a mo­tor­bike knocked over a Chi­nese woman on a pedes­trian cross­ing in Bei­jing’s Chaoyang dis­trict. Ini­tial re­ports say­ing that the woman threw her­self in front of the mo­tor­bike to ex­tort money from the for­eigner proved to be false.

Bei­jing po­lice said af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that the man had vi­o­lated traf­fic rules. Both he and his fa­ther were work­ing in China il­le­gally.

The mo­tor­cy­clist was de­tained for five days and fined 5,000 yuan ($820) for work­ing il­le­gally in China. His fa­ther re­ceived 14 days’ ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion and was fined 10,000 yuan. Both men were de­ported. Con­tact the writ­ers at hedan@chi­nadaily.com.cn and

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