In an unprecedented move to bring Indians and Chinese closer, Beijing recently issued a Green Card to an Indian national. The green card issued by Beijing is a rarity, with few foreigners fulfilling the criteria or meeting the standards of the Chinese immigration office. Issued to foreigners the Chinese green card gives similar rights as that of a Chinese citizen. It allows the foreigner to stay in China for an unlimited period of time, enter and leave the country with a valid passport and Foreigner Permanent Residence Permits, with no need to obtain visas, use the Green Card as a single legal document in China.
The honour of being the first Indian to receive a green card went to Mohmmed Rizwan, who has been given a visa for five years instead of the one-year visa given to almost all foreigners. Married to a Chinese national, having spent the last fifteen years in Beijing Rizwan is expecting a 10-year visa once the first phase of five years expires. He works for an American company providing training to teachers at the pre-school level.
China introduced the system of granting five-year Permanent Resident cards, somewhat similar to the system in Singapore, only a few years ago. The move is significant because it opens the doors for at least 50 Indians, who have lived in China for over 12 years. There are over 20 Indian men with Chinese wives. Several Indians have made substantial investments in the country.
Many people ask so why get a Green Card, considering its not too difficult to obtain a permanent residence permit if you are working in China. The Green Card, gives the foreigner the same stature in China as a citizen. With no added tax burdens, the Card actually helps holders while buying real estate, for the education of their children, insurance, obtaining a drivers license and starting a business etc.
So what qualified Rizwan to obtain the much coveted Chinese Green Card? A foreigner must achieve some distinction in the field of science, invest in excess of US$1 million or have a Chinese spouse to qualify for the PR status. He has married a Chinese woman based in Beijing. To read more on how to obtain a Chinese Green Card read here.
“I faced no difficulties during the process of applying and approval. I was treated in a friendly manner. There was no hint of suspicion among the officials,” he said referring to the somewhat uneasy relationship between India and China. “It is a good start. It shows the Chinese’s government’s determination to expand people-to-people relationship between the two countries,” he said. He also met other requirements of visa authorities like knowledge of local language and demonstrated usefulness to the local community, he said.