April 04, 2018

Pudong widens green card approval

Shanghai's Pudong New Area has begun granting permanent residence permits to not only top overseas professionals but also their research partners.

The policy, which began last month, aims to boost Pudong’s talent pool, officials said yesterday.

So far the Shanghai free trade zone in Pudong is the only area in the city to be granted the power to pioneer the new policy.

While the person leading a research team that is deemed essential to advance China’s needs can obtain a permanent residence permit, or green card, other top members of such a team aren’t usually able to do likewise. They have to renew their visas annually and deal with other administrative procedures, which costs time and interrupts their research.

To resolve the problem, the Pudong Human Resources and Social Security Bureau has rolled out a policy for overseas research teams registered at the FTZ.

Under the new policy, a maximum of six overseas professionals from the same research team can apply for permanent residency. They are required to work in high-tech or strategic emerging industries such as those involving artificial intelligence, software and integrated circuits.

“This year, we focus more on a team than an individual. It will be good for global talent exchange and for the research programs,” said Cai Min, deputy director of the Pudong human resources bureau.

The new policy is among a set of 35 released yesterday that are aimed to attract “foreign brains.” Among those policies are several “firsts” for Shanghai.

Now top performing overseas graduates can apply for permanent residency after they have worked for three years. And overseas professionals recruited by universities and research institutes are allowed to work part-time for companies operating in the FTZ.

“It will be good to turn academic research results into production and put them into market,” said Liu Guangming, deputy director with Pudong police.

Also, top overseas professionals, with permanent residence permits, can enjoy the same favorable policies as local startups if they set up technology firms in the FTZ.

“Previously, despite holding permanent residence permits, overseas professionals were only allowed to set up companies through using their passports, and limits were imposed on foreign-owned companies, from fundraising to going public,” said Zhang Jianhua, deputy director of the Pudong Market Supervision Administration.

Zhang Wei, a German-Chinese, was one of two people who obtained a business license yesterday to set up a startup in the FTZ. An expert in optoelectronics, he has worked here for seven years, and has always wanted to have his own company.

Previously doing so here would have been time-consuming and costly. “But now I run a domestic company, and everything is easy for me,” he said.

To better serve overseas professionals, Pudong plans to build over 9,000 flats for them in Zhangjiang Science City.

In three years, the district is set to have 18 international schools and at least 10 foreign-run health care facilities, officials said.