Foreign nationals take part in Chinese New Year activities in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, in 2012. (Photo/Xinhua)
One third of immigrants who have obtained permanent residency in China did so through "special contributions," while very few did so through prior investment in the country's institutions. The immigration of skilled workers and professionals from overseas has surged in the past decade and is expected to constitute the bulk of the country's future immigrants, reports the Chinese-language magazine Insight China.
According to the 2012 report on China's international immigration conducted by the Center of China and Globalization, 27.11 million people traveled to the country in 2011, while 330,000 foreign nationals studied in China in 2012, a number which is expected to reach 880,000 by 2020. Nearly 600,000 foreign national are based in the country, more than 400,000 arriving for business and employment.
These foreign nationals have shifted the center of their businesses, careers and future to China, but it has not easy to obtain a green card due to strict regulations. The authorities divide immigrants into four categories: investment, employment, relatives and special contribution.
The statistics showed self-employed immigrants have gradually increased, followed by those coming through relatives and investment. Figures from Beijing's public security authorities said a total of 265 foreign nationals received green cards in 2010 due to special contributions, which accounted for 36.8% of foreign nationals who obtained permanent residency.
Most people who became permanent residents settled in northern regions of the country. As of December of last year, 911 foreign nationals received green cards, which accounted for 20% of the total.
A 2012 survey by HSBC said nearly half of those polled said they believed they could make more money in China. However, most foreign nationals are not interested in citizenship and only look for a green card, especially those from Europe and the Unites States.
Out of the more than 200,000 foreign nationals that stayed in Beijing for a year, less than 0.0004% of them held green cards, a figure far behind other international cities such as London and New York.