Expats benefit from higher efficiency in green card application review

Over 1,800 foreign nationals in China got their green cards in the past two months, one-third of whom live and work in Shanghai.
Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau

From the left, Ming Chen from Singapore, Ning Lan from the US, Dennis Scott from Britain and Benjamin Smekens from Belgium get their Chinese green cards from Lou Pengying (center), vice director of Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau, on Thursday.

Over 500 Chinese green card applicants in Shanghai have received their green cards in the past two months since the establishment of China’s State Immigration Administration in April this year, Shanghai police said on Thursday.

They accounted for about 30 percent of all foreign nationals in China who have benefited from the streamlined green card application review process introduced by the administration, which has significantly increased the efficiency of the service.

Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau said it issued 400 to 500 green cards annually in the past two years.

Ning Lan, a professor in biomedical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, received his green card on Thursday.

Lan, who has been working at the university since 2009, is a US citizen who was born in China and earned a doctoral degree in the US. A new green card rule in Shanghai announced in December 2016 made it possible for him for apply.

“When I applied in October last year, I was told to wait for six to 12 months, so I’m happy that I have already got it now,” he said.

Lan said he expects more convenience enabled by his permanent residence card, a chip-embedded card the size of a Chinese ID card.

“I hope I don’t have to bring my passport to buy train tickets and wait in line for a long time anymore and I can use the card to take a domestic flight and check in at a hotel,” he said.

Lan was one of the over 200 Chinese-born foreign nationals with doctoral degrees who applied for a Chinese green card in Shanghai in the past year, the bureau said.

Dennis Scott, assistant chief designer of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China who has been working in Shanghai for seven years, also got his Chinese green card as a leading foreign expert on Thursday.

“I feel very pleased and honored to receive the green card,” he said. “I think it’s a good sign that China is looking to make life easier for overseas experts.”

Scott said that from the experience of his colleagues who have received Chinese permanent residence cards, the functions of the cards are yet to be better delivered.

“Many people working in hotels, for example, are not familiar with the card, and they still ask for passports,” he said. “But I’m sure that with time the card will become more visible and general services will understand the significance of it.”

In the past two months, about 270 foreign nationals have submitted Chinese green card applications through the bureau.

Those who have received their green cards range from scientists, entrepreneurs and executives, to spouses and children of green card holders.

At the end of 2016, there were 175,674 foreign nationals living in Shanghai, of whom 3,027 had a Chinese green card.

Foreigners who hold Chinese green cards are entitled to the same rights as Chinese citizens.

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