BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- China will issue more green cards and ease restrictions for visa-free entry to encourage more talented individuals from overseas to work in the country, a senior security official said Wednesday.
Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning made the remark while delivering a report on the administration of entry-exit, residence and employment for foreigners to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).
"We will increase the eligibility quota for green cards and consider extending the applicable scope for duty-free entry and multiple-entry visas in order to make China more competitive in soliciting foreign investment and talent," said Yang.
The number of foreigners who stayed in China for at least six months rose to 600,000 in 2011 from less than 20,000 in 1980, according to Yang.
By the end of 2011, 4,752 foreigners were given a Permanent Residence Card, or the Chinese equivalent of a green card.
In another sign of the country's efforts to attract talented individuals from overseas, a new visa category titled "talent introduction" was added to a draft law on China's exit and entry administration.
The draft law was submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for its second reading on Tuesday.
Ordinary visas will be granted to foreigners who enter the country to work, study, visit relatives, travel or conduct business, as well as to those who fall under the "talent introduction" category, according to the draft law.
Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said last month that China will make greater efforts this year to resolve visa and residency permit issues for foreigners.
China will introduce favorable policies for foreigners in relation to social insurance, taxation, medical services, education for their children and academic funding, the minister said.