China – Immigration Rules Relaxed in the Guangdong Province

Following similar changes in Beijing and Shanghai, the Ministry of Public Security have implemented relaxed immigration rules for the Guangdong Province and Guangdong Free Trade Zone.

The following changes have occurred for the Guangdong Province and Guangdong Free Trade Zone:

  • Simplified permanent residence application procedures – Highly skilled foreign workers may now apply for permanent residency with their dependents if they are recommended by the Guangdong Free Trade Zone. The processing time has been reduced to 90 days from 180 business days.
  • Fast track approvals for skilled foreign workers – Upon arrival in China, highly skilled foreign nationals recognized by the Guangdong Province authorities may obtain a Talent (R) Visa and convert to a five year residence permit. If the foreign national is already in China with an Alien Employment License, they may apply for a Work (Z) Visa.
  • Foreign nationals are able to apply for permanent residency if recommended by their employer if they have worked in the Guangdong Province for at least four years and have had a cumulative stay in China for six months each year.
  • Support for foreign students’ start-ups – Foreign students who graduated from a college or university in China may immediately apply for a two year personal affairs residence permit. Foreign students may also apply at the port of entry with the required documents for an X1 visa if they intend to study in the Guangdong province.  They will also be able to apply for a residence permit marked “Study.”
  • Accelerated visas and residency application channels for overseas Chinese – Chinese nationals overseas who were born or held residency in the Guangdong Province are eligible to apply for a five year multiple entry visa or residence permit with submission of a support letter of interest or business plan. The Oversea Chinese national may also apply for permanent residency if they hold a doctorate degree or have worked in a Free Trade Zone company for four years with a total stay of six months in China each calendar year.
  • Investors in the Free Trade Zone who invest for a cumulative of three years may apply for permanent residency if they meet the lower threshold of USD 1 million.

The relaxed visa rules for the Guangdong Free Trade Zone are due to the demand for highly skilled foreign talent, the returning of oversea Chinese nationals to start businesses, and foreign students and investors to innovate development.  China is in an effort to recruit overseas Chinese nationals that have studied abroad and do not return back to their country.  The new policies are aimed make the transition of becoming permanent resident in the Guangdong Province simpler for highly skilled workers, investors, students, and oversea Chinese nationals.