Time to attract skilled immigrants to China

Updated: 2014-05-29 16:24

By Li Yang (chinadaily.com.cn)

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It is very difficult for foreigners to apply for the right of permanent residency in China, let alone Chinese citizenship. The government should make the application process easier for the foreigners the country needs most for its future development, says an article in 21st Century Business Herald. Excerpts:

From 2004, when China started implementing its permanent residency right application system, to the end of 2011, the Chinese government has issued about 4,700 green cards to foreigners.

Given the shortage of skilled labor in China, the government needs to consider loosening its tight control over the green card application system.

Today, more than 600,000 foreigners live in China, up 35 percent from 10 years ago. China is becoming and will be a main destiny for immigrants from around the world, given its fast economic growth. Those immigrants can bring with them the techniques, skills, innovation and capital that China desperately needs. 

Simplifying the current application and approval systems can make a big difference quickly.

The Chinese government needs to draw lessons from how developed countries make use of immigrants and their skills to serve the country’s development. Cross-border flows of population have become an irreversible trend in the modern world. There is no reason for China, the largest manufacturer and second-largest economy in the world, to shut talented people outside of its doors.

China is losing skilled workers and money to developed countries on a large scale. Attracting immigrants from other countries can help make up this loss to some extent.

Yet, the government needs to conduct prudent research and evaluation in advance to assess the possible influence of immigrants on China’s job market and public service system, before opening the floodgates.