Beijing: China plans to issue multiple-entry five year visas to attract high-skilled foreign professionals to broaden its technological base.
Foreign talent will soon be eligible for China visas valid for up to five years, according to a draft regulation, official media here reported.
The draft was released by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council on Friday, and public opinion is being sought for a month.
It states that China will grant two new types of visa, R1 and R2, for foreign professionals. Both types will be granted to foreign talent and professionals at senior level that the country urgently needs, state-run China Daily reported.
A R1 visa will come with residency rights, while a R2 visa will allow multiple entry and exits.
Liu Guofu, an immigration law specialist at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said R1 visa holders can apply for a residence permit for up to five years, while a R2 visa will allow professionals to stay in China for 180 days at a time.
The regulation will be implemented under the Exit and Entry Administration Law, which takes effect in July.
Also China Ministry of Public Security is drawing up a draft regulation, under which foreigners who work in China for 10 consecutive years may be eligible for a "green card".
Visa holders should be experts recognised by provincial-level governments and above, and professionals that China urgently needs.
The new State Council regulation does not specify groups that China urgently needs and which are eligible for "talent visas".
But Liu said a draft in which ministerial departments had assessed feedback from specialists, shows they include candidates with management experience at leading multinationals, specialists in education and science-related fields, and renowned figures in culture and sport.
"The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security or the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs may soon release the list of target groups," Liu said.
Wang Huiyao, director of the Centre for China and Globalization in Beijing, said the new visas will help attract overseas talent.
"The regulation will especially lure those who work in other countries but want to spend time working in China," he said.
Wang said that in the past China had focused a great deal on how to manage foreigners working in or visiting the country when making or amending visa-related laws and regulations.
But now the country is aiming to attract global talent by providing more convenient visa policies, like many other countries, including the United States.