Regs aimed at high-value foreign workers . . .
China’s Ministry of Justice has released the draft of proposed new regulations for acquiring permanent residency in China. The proposed regulations, released on February 27, target in-demand foreign workers, including business investors, graduates of well-known international universities, PhDs, academics and researchers, foreigners making “outstanding contributions” to China, and professionals working in identified key sectors such as high-tech, innovation, and senior care. The program would also be open to foreign workers’ relatives.
Sparking a nationalist backlash . . .
The proposed regulations are currently under a customary one-month public consultation period, which ends in late March, and have attracted a great deal of public attention, including three million comments on Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) as of March 5. Many comments have been negative at a time when Chinese state media have been advancing a patriotic narrative of national solidarity in the fight to contain COVID-19, while arguing that other countries have turned their backs on China.
Reconciling nationalism with economic growth . . .
The permanent residency regulations represent a dilemma the Chinese government has faced in recent years. On the one hand, it has relied on nationalism to galvanize public support for the current regime, especially in times of crisis, such as with COVID-19. On the other hand, sustained economic growth is a key pillar of Beijing’s legitimacy. To facilitate continued economic growth, the Chinese government has sought to shift its economic structure from export-led manufacturing to services, high-tech, and innovation. High-skilled foreigners and investors are crucial for achieving this transition and the proposed regulations signal that Beijing may be far more willing to accommodate foreigners living in China than in the past.
- The Beijing News: 外国人拿中国“绿卡”更容易了吗？五问外国人永居条例
- China Briefing: Foreign permanent residency in China: new draft regulations released
- South China Morning Post: Backlash in China over draft rule on permanent residency for foreigners in China