China: Relaxed immigration rules and procedures forthcoming for foreign nationals in Beijing

New immigration policies that will be piloted starting March 1, 2016 should make it easier for four main categories of foreign nationals to obtain Permanent Residence status and should simplify various application procedures, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Public Security. There are also plans to extend the visa-free policy from 72 hours to 144 hours.

Benefits for Overseas Chinese and High-Skilled Foreign Nationals

Benefits for overseas Chinese and high-skilled foreign nationals who work in Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park include: 

  • Those with a recommendation from the Administrative committee of Zhongguancun Science Park and their dependants will be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence status with a reduced processing time of 50 days, instead of the current 180 days;
  • Those seeking a Work-Type Residence Permit valid for five years will be exempt from the mandated retirement age of 60 for males and 55 for females if they can provide a commitment letter issued by their current employer; and
  • Eligibility for an R (Talent) Visa upon arrival in Beijing or a Z (work) visa for those with an Employment License.

Eased Residence Permit Eligible for Foreign Students

Qualified foreign students studying in Chinese educational institutions will be able to conduct internships or start businesses in Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park, and will have “internship” indicated on their Residence Permit.

Qualified foreign students from overseas educational institutions who are invited by entities in Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park will be able to obtain or convert their current visa to a short-term Personal Affairs Type Residence Permit.

Improvements for Investors and Start-ups

Overseas Chinese and foreign nationals starting business in Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park will be eligible for a Personal affairs-Type Residence Permit valid for five years.

Visa Exemption Expansion

Lastly, the visa-free policy is expected to be extended from 72 hour-stays to 144 hour-stays for some nationalities in the ports of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Foreign investors and highly-skilled personnel should benefit from the relaxed eligibility criteria for Permanent Residence and eased application processes that are planned for Beijing.