The Shanghai government on Wednesday granted permanent residency to seven foreign citizens, including one Nobel Prize laureate, as part of a pilot program to attract global talent with more favorable immigration policies.
Bernard Lucas Feringa, a 2016 Nobel Chemistry Prize laureate, received a Chinese "green card" along with six other foreign citizens, according to the China News Service. Feringa is a visiting professor at the East China University of Science and Technology.
Shanghai also launched a new program called the Juying Plan, or the "plan of gathering talent."
According to the new program, core members of top-notch scientific research teams will enjoy preferential policies in applying for permanent residency. If a top scientist receives the Chinese "green card," he or she can recommend up to six foreign scientists in his research team to apply for Chinese permanent residency. This policy will give the research team more freedom to decide whom they want to recruit without worrying about the work permit.
The program also scrapped the provision that foreign nationals could only work for one organization in China, by allowing foreign talent to start their own companies in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone and Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.
The program states that foreign graduates of renowned domestic and overseas universities can apply for a two-year residence permit in Shanghai should they need an internship or if they want to start their own business. The program says that such foreign graduates can also apply for permanent residency after working full-time in Shanghai for three years.
China Central Television reported that a German who obtained a master's degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University became the first foreign graduate on Wednesday to receive a two-year residence permit under the program.
Chinese permanent residency used to be difficult to acquire. The country is seeking ways to reform its permanent residency policies to attract global talents.