Foreigners with Green Cards to Get Key Rights in China
    2012-12-17 05:28:39         Web Editor: Wang Wei

China has issued new regulations that will give foreigners with green cards the same pension, education and property rights as Chinese citizens.

The move is a major step forward for China's legal system, as well as the reflection of China's willingness to attract more global talents.

CRI's Zhang Qizhi has more.


China started to grant permanent residency permits to foreigners in 2004, but it wasn't until eight years later that green card holders were given equal rights as Chinese nationals.

Foreigners who have obtained permanent residency can now enjoy national treatment in terms of employment, investment, home purchases and education for their children.

Japanese national Nakahara Mirei was among the first batch of Chinese green card holders. She cites insurance as her major concern in the past.

"Since I came to China several years ago, my endowment insurance back in Japan has been suspended, and I could not get the insurance here either. Also, it cost me a lot when I gave birth to my child here, since there was no maternity insurance for me."

Now, under the new regulations, permanent foreign residents will be able to enjoy all aspects of social security.

They are also exempted from a previous restriction that does not allow foreigners to buy property in the country.

Their children can also attend a local school that is near their residence instead of international schools.

Liu Guofu, an immigration law specialist at the Beijing Institute of Technology, praised the regulation.

"First, the regulation is a major step towards improving China's legal system, as it makes up a vital part of the immigration law. Second, China's globalization needs more foreign specialists. The regulation makes China more appealling, so that more global talents can be attracted to work here."

Meanwhile, Liu is calling for a relaxation of the threshold for foreigners to obtain permanent residence, in order to make the measures more conducive.

Fewer than 5,000 foreigners had been given green cards as of the end of last year.

Liu says the figure is too low, given the annual average number has reached nearly 100,000 in Australia and 120,000 in the US.

On the other hand, Liu Guofu says some details of the regulation need to be more specific and further discussion.

"The regulation stipulates 'in principle' that green card holders will enjoy equal rights and shoulder the same responsibilities as Chinese nationals, which literally means there are exceptions. This is what we should make clear, to make sure they enjoy neither less nor more rights than Chinese. Also, it's worth discussion if the tax law needs revising, as it may no longer be reasonable for these foreigners to continue enjoying a higher tax threshold than Chinese nationals if they enjoy equal rights."

Under the new regulations, the only rights not afforded to green card holders are political rights.

For CRI, I'm Zhang Qizhi.


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