5-Year Residence Permits Granted to Some Foreigners in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) — Six types of foreign professionals and investors in Shanghai are now eligible to live in the city five years, instead of the usual one year, in a move to help boost economic growth, Tuesday’s China Daily reported.

Authorities implemented the measures for expatriates on Jan.1 to entice scientific researchers, top managers and investors to stay longer in the city.

Other categories are: individuals with highly specialized skills, celebrities, private investors and foreigners awarded special status in light of their contributions to China. All of these people can apply for five-year residence permits, the newspaper said.

One of the changes makes life considerably easier for business owners, who formerly had to prove that they had 30 million U.S. dollars of registered capital to apply for the extended permit. This figure was slashed by 90 percent at the turn of the year, according to the newspaper.

“Now that the number has dropped to 3 million U.S. dollars, the range of expats who are eligible to qualify has soared, “a police officer surnamed Zhang from the exit-entry administration bureau of the Shanghai public security bureau was quoted as saying by the China Daily.

The extended residence permits were implemented citywide following a successful trial in Shanghai’s Pudong New District from July 1. In this interim period, police processed more than 500 of the new five-year permits, said the newspaper.

Shanghai saw its population of foreign permanent residents top the 150,000 mark in 2008, up 20,000 from the year before. Figures for last year have not yet been released by the city’s bureau of family planning.

Most foreigners live in Shanghai on a short-term basis, using either the tourist (L) or visitor (F) visas, which usually allow them to stay for up to three months, according to the newspaper.

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