China eases visa policy in bid to attract skilled foreign professionals


China has revised its visa regulations, making it easier for foreign professionals and highly-skilled workers to obtain visa permits as it looks to bridge a talent gap, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

According to the new rules released by China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the expiration dates for visas can be extended to five to 10 years after issuance.

Applicants will also be allowed multiple entries and 180-day-stays for a single entry, the administration said.

Under the new rules, applicants will include those who qualify as ‘high-end talents’ in the Categories of Foreigners Working in China, such as scientists, entrepreneurs, and leaders in tech-intensive industries, the report said, adding that these categories may be adjusted on China’s evolving demand for talent.

Foreigners applying for visas to work in China are expected to receive confirmation of their qualification within five working days, whereas the spouses and minor children of applicants can be granted the same visa as early as the day after applying.

All applicants are to be provided a waiver for the visa fee, even for urgent applications.

The new policy reflects the incumbent Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s September 2017 statement, in which he said that Beijing could look beyond local talent in order to aid its ever-growing economy.

“We should not only make use of Chinese talent resources and market space, but also adopt a more open policy for foreign experts,” he had said, according to Xinhua.

However, while the regional power may be welcoming of talent that fits the bill, a report last year said that China has tightened up its visa rules for Pakistani businessmen, with a rising number of people in the business community complaining that Chinese visas are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.


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