12 more expats in Shanghai become permanent residents

Since December 2016, 85 expats working at Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone have received Chinese green cards under recommendation of the zone's administrators.
Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau

Hou Jin (7th left), vice director of Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone, and Lou Pengying (8th left), vice director of Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau, hand over Chinese green cards to 12 recipients in a ceremony held at the zone's administration commission on Tuesday.

Twelve expats in Shanghai working at Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone got their Chinese green cards on Tuesday.

Including the 12, a total of 85 expats have become permanent residents since December 2016 under recommendation of the zone’s administration commission, which now has the right to recommend high-level foreign professionals to the exit-entry authority as Chinese green card candidates.

The 12 expats work in the fields of semiconductors, IT, medical technology, chemistry and biological sciences. Seven are US citizens, while the rest are German, Malaysian, Canadian and Australian nationals.

Raymond Stevens, an American chemist and structural biologist and the founding director of the iHuman Institute of ShanghaiTech University, is one of the dozen.

Stevens said he was going to stay for only nine months when he arrived in Shanghai in August 2011, but he soon fell in love with the city.

“It’s a fantastic science city, and what I enjoy the most is the energy of the students,” he said. “With all the resources and equipment, Shanghai is probably the best place in the world to do science today.”

About 45,000 foreign experts, top Chinese professionals with overseas work experience and foreign students work and study in the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone, which has 22 industrial parks in 16 Shanghai districts.

Fan Xiyou, chief of the innovation promotion department of Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone, said a recommendation is usually prepared for submission to the entry-exit authority within two or three months from when a company or research institute proposes a Chinese green card candidate.

Cai Baodi, director of the foreigner visa department of the Shanghai Entry-Exit Administration Bureau, said it usually will be within 90 working days for a Chinese green card to be issued to a recommended expat after the bureau receives the recommendation, while in most other cases it could take around six months.

Shanghai has been easing visa and green card rules for foreigners since July 2015 in an effort to attract more top foreign professionals to work in the city.

Foreigners with a permanent residence card enjoy most of the rights as Chinese citizens.

At the end of last year, there were about 160,000 foreign nationals living in Shanghai, of whom 3,200 had a Chinese green card, the exit-entry administration bureau said.

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