Promotion of a streamlined process for getting R visas for top overseas talent began nationwide on March 1.
Under new regulations governing R visas－which China issues to foreign experts whose skills are in urgent demand－holders would be allowed to stay in China for up to 180 days at a time, with multiple border entries valid from five to 10 years.
For top talent, applications for work permits can now be submitted online, without paperwork. And the process is free.
Supporting policies will also cover an expatriate’s spouse and children, giving them quick access to the visa.
Under the direction of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security, pilot programs were launched on Jan 1 in Beijing, Shanghai and dozens of other cities and provinces.
Information uploaded by applicants is shared by the three departments, saving the applicants time since redundancy is eliminated.
In the past two months, a total of 168 preliminary paper approvals－authorizing an online application－have been issued by bureaus in the pilot cities and provinces.
The time it takes to complete the procedure has been reduced from 10 to five working days. A work permit must be secured before the R visa application process begins.
Top scientists, international entrepreneurs and other talent with specific high-level skills needed in the development of the country are all qualified to apply for the R visas.
In total, expats entered or left the country more than 900,000 times in 2016, and over 3.3 million times in the past five years, according to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
Zhang Jianguo, head of the administration, said the Chinese government values talent more than ever.
“We’ve seen big progress in policies to recruit more overseas talent. Those preferential policies reveal the country’s openness and inclusiveness, which a great power should demonstrate to the world,” Zhang said.