BEIJING – 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.
Applications for the visas can be made online, are free of charge and will be processed quickly, the Chinese government said.
In 2016 China introduced a ranking system for expatriates, aimed at identifying the skills it wanted to attract while reducing the number of lower-skilled foreigners coming into the country.