Premier welcomes experts
The best award for foreign experts in China－except for the golden badge and invitation to the National Day banquet－may be Premier Li Keqiang's pledge for a streamlined procedure to get a permanent residency permit.
At a meeting on Tuesday, when meeting the 100 foreigners who received this year's Friendship Award－the nation's highest honor for achievement by a foreigner－the premier said the government has decided to reduce the time needed for foreign experts to get a green card in the country.
"I know that it takes quite a long time for foreign experts to get a permanent permit to live in China. The Chinese government has decided to cut that government power, and give more power to the market and society ... You won't need to worry, if you want to live in the country for a long time, so that you will be able to focus more on helping China's modernization," Li said after taking a group photo with the award winners.
It is the second time in two weeks for the premier to seek a simplified procedure to obtain Chinese green cards. He asked the authorities of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone to come up with a plan to simplify procedures for applications and the issuance of Chinese permanent residency permits for foreigners in the zone on Sept 19 during his trip to the area.
Details of the changes are not available at the moment.
Since China started to issue green cards in 2003, it has granted about 5,000 to foreign applicants, or 500 annually, while the United States issues about 1 million a year, according to Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank in Beijing.
Bill Gaspard, design director of China Daily, received the Friendship Award for his contributions in presenting news of China and its culture to the world through the development of editions around the globe.
Bill said he would consider applying for a Chinese green card if it doesn't involve too much trouble in the future.
"(The premier) mentioned that getting a green card now is not very convenient ... I know how much paperwork you have to go through and how many people have to work behind the scene (to get it)," Bill said.
"I don't have many qualifications like being married to a Chinese, but I've got this award. I hope maybe that can help," he said.
What we do
SAFEA is responsible for certifying foreign experts to work in the Chinese mainland and organizing overseas training for Chinese technical and managerial professionals.