What is the change? Following successful initiatives in Shanghai, Beijing will launch its own reforms of immigration rules to attract foreign talent.

What does the change mean? The rules will benefit foreign senior professionals, overseas Chinese, foreign students, and high-skilled tech talent employed in Zhongguancun, Beijing’s tech hub.

  • Implementation time frame: The policies are expected to be introduced March 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Exit and Entry visas, Stay and Residence, and Permanent Residence.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals bringing technology and innovation to Beijing.
  • Impact on processing times: The policies will make it easier for some foreign professionals and students to apply for residence permits.
  • Business impact: Beijing is seeking to become a global high-tech hub by making it easier for foreign talent to live and work there.
  • Next steps: BAL is following the developments and will update clients as more reforms are introduced in 2016.

Background: Beijing has announced the following eased policies for four categories of foreign professionals:

  • Senior professionals who obtain a recommendation letter from the Beijing Zhongguancun Administrative Committee will be eligible to apply for permanent residence permits along with spouses and children under 18. A counter at the Ministry of Public Security will be dedicated to permanent residence applications, which will speed up processing.
  • Overseas Chinese are eligible to apply for permanent residency directly if they hold a doctorate degree or if they work at a Zhongguancun company for four years with a cumulative total stay in China of at least six months each calendar year.
  • Foreign students may apply for residence permits marked as “internship” if they seek short-term internships in Zhongguancun while studying at a foreign university. Foreign students studying at a Beijing university may seek a part-time job and start an entrepreneurship at Zhongguancun and apply or convert to a short-term personal affairs residence permit.
  • Entrepreneurial and tech talent employed at Zhongguancun may provide their visas at the port of arrival and convert to a long-term residence permit. An evaluation system for permanent residence permit applications will be implemented.

BAL Analysis: The changes in Beijing follow the successful experience in Shanghai last year. They will provide greater flexibility for foreign tech professionals to work and take up residency in Beijing.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact