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Shanghai has granted around 500 permanent resident cards to foreigners in the two months following the country"s April adoption of a streamlined application procedure. That"s nearly 30 percent of the country"s total, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said on Tuesday.
During the same period, another 270 foreigners applied for permanent status, the bureau"s department for exit and entry administration said in a news release.
Among those who have received cards for permanent residency are high-caliber personnel and their families - for example, Nobel chemistry laureate Kurt Wuthrich; 15 postdoctoral university advisers or directors of national-level laboratories; and seven people recruited in China"s Thousand Talent program, which seeks experts worldwide.
The foreigners work in various fields such as biomedicine, materials, energy and finance.
In a survey conducted in April, most foreigners who hold a permanent resident card said the current application procedure is convenient and the card has wide application.
Nationwide, 1,881 foreigners were granted permanent residency between April 2 and June 2, a figure roughly equal to that of all last year, according to the State Immigration Administration.
Set up in April, the administration pledged to streamline the application procedure for foreigners who want to obtain permanent resident status in China. It has integrated the entry and exit management and frontier inspection departments of the Ministry of Public Security.
It said about 1 million foreigners lived in China last year, double the number in 2000.
However, the ratio of China"s foreign population is just 0.07 percent. That compares with a foreign-born population residing in the United States of 13.4 percent, or 43.2 million, according to a Pew Research Center report last year.
Wang Huiyao, director of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank, said that the creation of the new administration is sending a welcome message to talented people around the world, attracting them to live and work in China.
"In the past 40 years, China has made amazing achievements in its infrastructure, or "hardware"; and now it is starting to build up its "software" - the human resource pool," Wang said.
In the think tank"s 2017 report on China"s International Talent Competitiveness, Shanghai ranked No 1 in attractiveness for foreigners, followed by Beijing and Guangdong province.
"The figure released today shows that Shanghai has maintained its attractiveness by providing abundant opportunities and good service to foreigners," he added. "But it still has more potential."