My Executive


    Jul 02, 2013

    China to woo foreign talent with new visa

    EXECUTIVES with management experience at leading multinational corporations and specialists in education and science: China wants you.

    The country wants such foreign candidates to apply for a new "talent visa", in a move to attract global talent.

    A draft soliciting the opinions of government insiders and experts suggests that the country has outlined the key points in evaluating whether a foreign professional is "urgently needed", an issue widely discussed since the Exit-Entry Administration Law was passed in June last year.

    "Urgently needed" professionals will be able to apply for the talent visa, which grants residency for up to five years, or multiple entries of up to 180 days at a time.

    According to the draft given to China Daily by an insider who asked to remain anonymous, five major kinds of professionals may be categorised under the talent pool:

    Senior management professionals at globally renowned enterprises, financial institutions, accounting firms and architecture offices, with profound knowledge in their field and its international rules;

    Senior specialists at globally renowned enterprises, financial institutions and accounting firms and architecture offices, with independent intellectual-property rights and core technology;

    Senior science and education professionals, with titles equivalent to professor at globally renowned universities and institutions, who have made great contributions in the development of a particular field;

    Renowned cultural, arts and sports figures, or winners of major international awards in their field;

    Other high-end international talents that China urgently needs.

    The draft is still in its early stage and may be subject to change based on feedback from government departments and experts.

    The Exit-Entry Administration Law is seen as part of China's efforts to attract global talent by offering detailed and convenient stipulations on the entry, stay and exit of foreign residents.

    Mr Wang Huiyao, director of the non-profit centre for China and Globalisation, said the talent visa offers convenience for top professionals from overseas interested in working in China.

    China's move is in line with the global trend of easing visa requirements to attract overseas talent.

    More than 30 countries have introduced policies for enhancing travel convenience and making visa processing easier for talent as of 2005, according to the United Nations. They include 17 developed countries, such as the United States, and 13 emerging and developing countries.

    Mr Liu Guofu, an immigration-law specialist at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said that, while the draft aims to attract global talent, it is still not specific enough.

    He said a guidance catalogue for foreigners working in China, which will include specific industries that need foreign experts most, is also being drafted and will be updated from time to time.

    Mr Liu added that he does not think introducing a talent visa will be enough for China to retain global talent, as foreigners are still subject to excessive red tape and institutional barriers when they renew a visa, buy real estate or apply for a domestic driving licence.

    "Many foreigners don't have the time and linguistic advantage to understand the complicated stipulations, which are scattered amid different laws and regulations," he said.

    The government should help foreigners understand related stipulations to avoid misunderstandings, he said.