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Originally posted by satsu_jin at 2009-3-13 21:16
On August 15, 2004 the Ministries of Public Security and Foreign Affairs jointly issued the Regulations on the Examination and Approval of Permanent Residence of Aliens. These Regulations allow for permanent residency for foreigners who wish to make China their home. This has brought China into better compliance with its WTO accession commitments.
The Chinese permanent residency system can be likened to Western nations’ investor immigration programs, with the regulations directed towards individuals of "extraordinary" ability, such as senior level executives or highly specialized workers, and foreign nationals who have made large investments in China. As such, most foreign workers will not qualify for this permit.
Foreign nationals who wish to apply must fall under at least one of the eligible categories below:
1. Family members of Chinese nationals, such as children, spouses (spouses must be married for approximately 5 years before becoming eligible);
2. Individuals who make a large direct investment in China for three consecutive years;
3. Individuals who make outstanding contributions to China’s development or are considered by the Chinese government to be critical to the needs of the country; or
4. Individuals who have held a high-level position and have resided in China for three of the past four years, in a business which promotes the country's economic, scientific and technological development or social progress.
For Item 2 above or the investment category, the minimum level of investment is defined as follows:
1. The amount meets or exceeds US $500,000 if invested solely in Western China;
2. The amount meets or exceeds US $1,000,000 if invested solely in Central China; or
3. The amount meets or exceeds US $2,000,000 if invested in multiple locations in China.
If the individual is successful in their application, they will be granted a 5- or 10-year renewable permanent residency card, which allows them to enter or exit China freely without a passport. Further, there is no requirement to continuously renew the work permit, and continued residency is not dependent on employment in China.
It's really not so simple.
In the category you've highlighted, not only do spouses need to be married at least 5 years, but the expat spouse must have lived in China for 5 continuous years. They must also have a "stable" residence and employment in addition to passing a rigorous background investigation by the municipal and provincial Public Security Bureau.
Many apply, but few are approved.