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Legal and Regulatory Update
Beijing extends residence permits for foreigners

Foreigners who need to stay in China for more than six months are now eligible to get residence permits in Beijing from June 1 according to a revised policy of the Ministry of Public Security, the Legal Daily reported.
Five categories of foreigners have now been included in the new guidelines. Among them are foreign spouses, parents and children under 18 years old of Chinese citizens or foreign people with permanent residence rights; and foreigners over 60 who have purchased property in the Chinese mainland, their parents, and children under 18 years old, according to the Beijing Public Security Bureau.
These groups of people could not only apply for a six-month tourist visa to China, but also apply for a one- or two-year residence permit. Those who want an extension to their permit could also apply after the expiration of their current permit.



China adopts more open policy to attract foreign talents

China's central authorities have set down a more open policy to attract top-notch foreign talents to help promote the economic and social development and global competitiveness of the nation.
According to the newly unveiled National Medium and Long-term Talent Development Plan (2010-2020), the government will work out favorable policies in terms of taxation, insurance, housing, children and spouse settlement, career development, research projects, and government awards for high-calibre overseas talents who are willing to work in China.
Furthermore, the government will also improve the system for giving permanent residence rights to foreigners, explore the potential of a skilled migration program, and work out measures to ensure a talent supply, discovery and appraisal system.
The national plan, a blueprint for creating a highly skilled national work force over the next decade, aims to transform the country from being "labor-rich to talent-intensive."
Wang Huiyao, vice chairman of Beijing-based China Western Returned Scholars Association, said, "The measures outlined are very attractive. They've touched upon various concerns of talents from overseas including personal and career needs."
"The plan is practical and concrete compared with previous documents," said Wang, who help draft the plan.
A program to hire 1,000 overseas top-notch specialists initiated in late 2008 was also incorporated into the new plan as one of the 12 key projects to be completed over the next ten years.
By May this year, 662 people have been recruited under the program, which gives priority to leading scientists who are able to make breakthroughs in key technologies, develop high-tech industries and lead new research areas.
Xiao Mingzheng, director of the Human Resource Development and Management Research Center at Peking University said, "It's preferable to import talents rather than capital or technology."
"As China strives to adjust its economic growth pattern, it has become more important for it to tap others' 'brains'," he said.
"The new policies reflect China's open attitude to personnel recruitment - that is, the country not only exports talents to serve the world but also enables foreign talents to serve China's development," he said.
China's efforts to attract overseas talents have gone beyond the central government level.
The country recruited about 480,000 talents from foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan last year, according to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
And about 50,000 Chinese officials and professionals went overseas for various training programs last year.
Li Yuanchao, head of the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said earlier this year, "Top-notch talents are crucial for improving the core competitiveness of a country, a region, and a company."
"Not only should the central government earnestly carry out its talent recruitment program. Local governments should also develop their own programs to create conditions to allow talents to achieve," he said

 [source: GOV.cn ]

The Chinese Public Security Bureau issued new guidelines with regard to the registration of foreigners in China

The Chinese Public Security Bureau issued new guidelines to hotels and apartment management companies concerning the registration of foreigners in China.

The PSB, a part of China’s domestic police force charged with policing public security and immigration residence registration and immigration affairs for foreigners, has insisted that the existing regulations for the registration of foreigners in China must be strictly adhered. Violators and those who fail to report to their individuals or building management will be subject to fines the bureau has said.

Guests staying in Hotels and Serviced Apartments
Guests must be registered upon arrival with the PSB by the hotel and if separate, serviced apartment management company. Usually this procedure is automatic with input from the hotel being directly fed into the local PSB computer at the check-in procedure, with no additional action being required from the guest. However, daily checks are now in operation with the PSB physically visiting hotels to request copies of the hotels in-house guest list to make sure they match the PSB’s own records. If they do not, the hotel / serviced apartment will be fined RMB5,000 per missing entry. Hotel guests under these circumstances would not be fined. However it does mean that foreigners wishing to stay at an hotel in China must provide full passport and visa credentials in order to check in.

Expatriate Employees Living In Private Apartments
The apartment management company should be contacting foreign tenants / residents and requiring them to register with the local PSB. If this is not done, both the management company and the foreigner can be fined RMB5,000. It is important to note that this rule applies to any foreign person living in any apartment or private dwelling - even if it is for just for one night. If staying overnight or visiting friends in China, registration must be carried out upon arrival with the local PSB office responsible for the area within 24 hours of arrival.

We strongly recommend all expatriate personnel living in apartments in China register with the local PSB once arriving China to avoid problems.




In the News

Despite rules on expat hiring, Filipino maids hot commodity

General discontent over the services provided by local house maids has led to a rise in the popularity of Filipino maids, who are often believed to be more industrious, attentive and educated.
But as good as Filipinas may be at cleaning house, there's one trouble with the trend: Chinese law prohibits private citizens from hiring foreigners, whether they hail from the Philippines or other countries.
Even so, industry insiders estimate that at least 100 Filipino maids are working in Shanghai, having been recruited by more than 10 employment agencies. And the actual number may well exceed 1,000, since more are believed to have been brought by their employers from overseas.
"Most of our customers, who are basically Chinese, turned to us because they were not satisfied with local house maids," said a staff member of the Wemax (Beijing) Business Consulting Co Ltd, who asked to be anonymous. "Besides, customers believe the Filipino maids' ability to speak English is a bonus because it puts their children in an environment where they can learn English."
The company has introduced more than 200 Filipino maids to Beijing and Shanghai since 2007. They are usually paid between 3,000 ($455) and 4,000 yuan a month, which is about 1,000 yuan a month more on average than their local colleagues.
"We're receiving more and more inquiries, especially from last year," he said. "I think it can be attributed to people's better living conditions, which make the service affordable to more Chinese."
"But the demand far exceeds the supply. In fact, only 30 percent of our customers can find a Filipino maid in the end."
In 1996, China adopted rules prohibiting individual citizens from hiring foreigners. Since then, expatriates who are seeking employment from private persons or households have not been able to obtain work permits.
The sole exception applies to diplomats, who are allowed to bring expatriate staff with them from overseas.
To circumvent the law, Filipino maids often come to China with a tourist visa and, when that document expires, either apply for an extension or try to obtain a business visa.
And were it not for the lengthy application process and high costs involved in obtaining the various visas, far more Filipino maids would likely try to take advantage of the system, said the owner of a foreign trade company in Shanghai who was unwilling to give his name. The man said he had lived in the Philippines for more than seven years before returning to China and establishing his company.
According to the man, whose business helps to find employment for maids, the cost of getting work for a Filipino maid in China is around $1,500, a figure that takes into account money spent for air tickets and fees paid to a Filipino employment agency.
And usually fewer than half of the candidates end up being able to obtain a Chinese visa.
"It's hard for us to introduce more Filipino maids to meet the domestic demand, since we can't even guarantee if the candidate can successfully come to China," he said.
In certain cases, the absence under Chinese law of legal protections for Filipino maids has led to disputes with employers.
"Some customers have complained that the Filipino maids occasionally steal money from them," he said. "But we can't do anything to make up for their losses, since there are no regulations defining the obligations of both sides."
"From the Filipino maids' point of view, they sometimes feel as if they are doing something illegal here," he added.
Take the case of Bangie, a Filipino maid who was unwilling to disclose her full name. She has worked for an African family in Beijing for a year and a half.
Bangie takes care of the family's children from Monday to Saturday and is paid 4,000 yuan each month. On Sunday, she usually goes to church or gathers with her friends in Beijing.
"I have worked as a house maid in Singapore and Hong Kong and wanted to try the market in the Chinese mainland," she said.
"I feel OK about the job here. I've learned some Chinese before, so I can get used to the life in China," she said.
Her boss will leave China this year to complete another overseas assignment, and Bangie has decided to go with the family.
"To tell you the truth, I feel a bit unprotected here," she said.

By Yang Yijun (China Daily)

Partnerships giving the city an international outlook

Historical Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, is looking for talented people to make it more competitive globally and is offering Chinese "green cards" for foreign experts to make their lives more comfortable and the environment more pleasant.
The local government came up with a plan in 2009 - one that complemented China's "10,000 talented young people" strategy - to bring in 100 foreigners within a three-year period (2009-2011) by giving them preferential treatment.
The residence permit allows them to stay in China permanently and be treated like a native if they buy a house or a car.
To date, eight teams of people from the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere have come and have received around 60 million yuan ($9 million) from the government in financial assistance.
These people mainly work in the construction machinery, electronic technology, auto design and bio-pharmaceutical fields.
More than 3,000 foreign experts have come to the city because of international activities or to work for educational or health organizations, news agencies, and publishing houses, or in the high-tech and economic zones.
Changsha places great importance to its talent search, said Han Zhiyu, a Chinese American automotive expert at Hunan University.
"I hope to make some contribution in research and production integration in the city's colleges and universities," Han said.
In addition, Changsha is trying to make itself more international and wants to increase its appeal to talented people overseas.
"The city's reform and opening-up policies have introduced an international management approach and smarter development, which give it more strategic options in this fiercely competitive world, " said one Hunan hi-tech company expert.
The government built pilot zones in the city after it was designated a trial site for energy-preserving, eco-friendly city development, by the State Council, in 2007.
It has also become a trade partner with 181 countries and regions and has cooperating with cities in 18 countries, in business.
Meanwhile, 90 Fortune 500 companies have opened offices in the city, marking its arrival as a national service outsourcing base.


Lehman, Lee & Xu is a top-tier Chinese law firm specializing in corporate, commercial, intellectual property, and labor and employment matters. For further information on any issue discussed in this edition of Immigration Lawyers or for all other enquiries, please e-mail us at mail@lehmanlaw.com or visit our website at www.lehmanlaw.com.

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