(Yicai Global) July 7 -- China prepares to open its doors to more foreigners as the country joins the International Organization for Migration.
"China joining the IOM will help China draw on the international community's advanced experience in managing migration affairs, strengthen its ability to manage migration and provide consular protection, as well as help China's socioeconomic development," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said.
China is not known for its ready acceptance of immigrants, and most foreigners living and working in China are required to renew their visas or work permits every year.
In an attempt to attract and keep international talent, the Chinese government has started to step up efforts to facilitate foreigners entering and exiting the country and to help qualified expatriates obtain Chinese permanent residency.
China started to issue green cards for long-term residency to foreigners from 2004. However, only 7,356 out of 848,500 expatriates had received a green card as of 2013. In March, though, in an indication that the rules are relaxing, nearly 300 foreigners working in Beijing's technology hub Zhongguancun were granted with a green card.
In April, Beijing, Shanghai and some other Chinese cities announced that expats working in China were entitled to the same medical insurance and retirement policies as Chinese citizens, if they satisfy relevant tax requirements and social insurance contributions.
The Chinese government also pledged to accept more international refugees. As of August 2014, China had accepted around 310,000 refugees mostly from Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma, according to UN Refugee Agency statistics.