In February 2016, China's General Office of the State
Council issued its Opinion on Strengthening Management of the
Service for Foreigners' Permanent Residency
("Opinion"), setting out a framework for the development
of less restrictive requirements for permanent residency (Green
Card) applications in China by foreigners, and more generous
The Opinion provides that Chinese authorities will establish
more flexible and practical standards for foreigners who apply for
permanent residency, including with respect to qualifying
thresholds for an applicant's salary, tax payment history and
credit rating. Applicants no longer need to be at a career
level senior to deputy general manager/associate professor.
In addition, the Opinion eliminates the requirement that
applicants must provide a "significant contribution to
The Opinion also clearly specifies new benefits for Green Card
holders, including unlimited stays in China, exemption from visa
requirements on entry and exit and full rights as Chinese citizens
with respect to work, home purchases, driver's license
applications and child education. Visa and residence permit
renewals will be required less frequently. One especially
significant development is that a Green Card holder may now be
hired as a foreign housekeeper in his/her home in China. In
the past, foreigners could not serve as housekeepers within
Finally, the Opinion sets out guidelines for creating an easier
application process: authorities will simplify application
materials and shorten the time period for approval.
The Opinion's guidelines are promulgated on the national
level — cities and provinces may also adopt local
implementing rules which address practical details. The
Shanghai authorities have already done this and recently released
local regulations regarding Green Card holder requirements in
Shanghai. Specifically, applicants for Green Cards in
Have worked in Shanghai for at least
four consecutive years (and resided in China cumulatively for over
six months each year);
Have had an annual income exceeding
RMB600,000 for four consecutive years;
Have made tax payments in excess of
RMB120,000 annually; and
Be recommended by their current
The Opinion does raise some questions for employers in China
with respect to the employment of foreigners. Formerly, a
foreign employee's employment relationship would end
automatically upon expiration of the employee's work permit.
But a Green Card holder can now legally work in China without
a work permit, so the employment relationship could in theory
continue. However, whether a Green Card holder may enter into
an open-ended labor contract in China is unclear in practice.
Companies that have or anticipate they will have foreign
employees should monitor developments. We will continue to
keep you apprised.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
October 19th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 22nd round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 45th overall, inviting 1804 applicants for permanent residence, the largest number ever. The lowest CRS score was 475, a decline from the previous draw.
September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)is the category that most people use to apply for residence.
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