China has lowered the threshold for permanent residency "green cards" for foreigners serving in some government-affiliated institutes and scientific and research centers, the Ministry of Public Security said on Monday.
According to the ministry, the newly added sectors include State laboratories and engineering research centers, technology centers of key companies and foreign-funded research and development centers.
Foreigners who are vice-professors and researchers or above, have worked for at least four years and lived in China for three years with good tax records, will be able to apply for permanent resident permits at the local entry and exit management department.
Launched in 2004, China's green card policy provides permanent residency for high-end foreign experts and people with large investments or for outstanding contributions to the country.
In recent years, the policy has far from satisfied the country's need to attract more talented people from overseas, said a senior official at the ministry who declined to reveal his name.
Chinese authorities have been working on draft regulations to lower the thresholds on applications and cover foreigners involved in scientific and research centers with good education, stable jobs and good skills, he said.
"Such measures will play an essential role in attracting more high-level foreigners, including many overseas Chinese," the ministry said in a statement.
Foreigners who obtain permanent residency have the same rights as Chinese people when they invest in businesses, purchase houses, apply for driving licenses and admit their children to Chinese schools.
By 2013, more than 5,000 foreigners had managed to get green cards, a small number compared with the more than 600,000 foreigners living in China.
Ada Jen, an English teacher at an international school in Beijing, said that after introducing the measure, more qualified foreigners will get permanent residency.
"The permit can provide more convenience in the country, such as opening a bank account, applying for driving licenses or purchasing houses," she said.