Guangdong Eases Visa Policies for Many Foreigners
The Guangdong government will begin implementing 16 new visa policies on August 1, which will benefit foreigners working or studying in the Guangdong Free Trade Zone (FTZ) as well as other areas in the province.
To spur the development of innovation and entrepreneurship, the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department released the 16 new regulations, which are especially beneficial to hi-tech talents, entrepreneurs, investors from different countries, and overseas students and foreign citizens of Chinese origin. The new rules will help shorten the visa processing time, extend the visa period, and offer new types of visas for foreign students and housekeeping workers. Among the 16 rules, six apply to the Guangdong FTZ only, and the rest can be used for all areas within Guangdong province.
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According to the new policies, an exclusive visa channel will be created in the Guangdong FTZ for foreign talents and their family members applying for permanent residence. The processing time will be shortened to 90 working days. For foreign investors, the new rule for applying for permanent residency will require an investment of at least 1 million U.S. dollars in the Guangdong FTZ, which is half the previous requirement.
For ethnic Chinese working in the FTZ, the new rules remove the requirement for the applicant’s position and ease the requirements in terms of the minimum period of residency in China (6 months in China every year). The new rules also ease the procedures and requirements for overseas Chinese to apply for 5-year working visas.
Furthermore, the FTZ opens the opportunity for overseas students to gain internships with a new type of visa exclusively for this purpose. Overseas students with a formal invitation from companies in the Guangdong FTZ can apply for this short-term visa.
The new rules also simplify a permanent resident’s application procedures for foreign talents in other areas of the province. They can apply for permanent residence if they have worked in China at least 4 years and if each year their actual residence in China is not less than 6 months. There is also no requirement for applicants regarding type of positions. What’s more, the new rules cancel the age limitation for foreign talents over 60 years old who are hired by universities, as well as innovation companies. Also, workers with scientific research institutes in Guangdong province can apply for 5-year working visas in China, and after they have worked more than three years, they can apply for permanent residence.
The procedure and requirement for a residence permit is eased for foreign workers. The 5-year working visa is not only for the foreign high-level talents and investors, but also for other foreigners who already have applied for the working permit twice before. They now can be issued 5-year residency visas in the third application. For overseas Chinese, the resident permit also is extended from three years to five years for working, studying, visiting family and other purposes.
Guangdong is also offering increased conveniences for some foreigners living here. For international students, the new rules allow them to apply for two-year S1 visas to encourage them to stay in Guangdong after they have graduated. The foreign talents who have been granted permanent residency or working resident permits will be allowed to hire foreign housekeepers, who can apply for the S1 visa through their employer’s guarantee and employment contract.
Also, in the future the transit visa exemption will extend for 144 hours at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzheng Bao’an International Airport and Jieyang Chaoshan International Airport.
The Guangdong government is planning to actively promote the implementation of the new policies.
(By Cassie Lin, Penny Liu, Louis Berney)