China’s Long-term Plan to Import Thousands of Highly-Qualified Foreigners

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Nov. 22 – With the recent issuance of the “Circular on Issues of Facilitating Visas and Residence Permits for Highly-Qualified Foreigners’ Entry into China (MHRSS Circular [2012] No. 57),” more attention has been drawn to the long-term plan of China to import talented experts from abroad. Currently, the plan that the Chinese government gives the most preferential treatment to is the Recruitment Program of Global Experts (also known as the “Thousand Talents Plan,” hereinafter referred to as the “Plan”), which was initiated by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee in December 2008.

The Plan involves more than 10 state-level ministries and commissions, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the People’s Bank of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and so on. It is the intention of the Plan to attract thousands of foreign experts, or returning-Chinese talent, in the next 5 to 10 years to work in China and promote innovation and technological development primarily in the high-tech and financial industries. As of September 2012, there have been 2,793 foreign or returning-Chinese highly-qualified individuals that have been introduced through the Plan.

Candidates who are eligible for “highly-qualified” status in the Plan should be at or under the age of 55, and typically have a doctorate degree. Upon acceptance into the Plan, there is a required minimum period of 6 months each year working in Beijing. In addition, one of the following requirements should be fulfilled:

  • Candidates shall be expert scholars who have professor positions or the equivalent in well-known foreign universities or scientific research institutions.
  • Candidates shall be professional technical experts and managerial experts who have held senior positions at well-know international and financial enterprises.
  • Candidates shall be entrepreneurs who are familiar with the relevant industries or international rules, and who also own proprietary intellectual property rights or master core technologies. Experience in starting businesses overseas is required.
  • Other high-level innovative entrepreneurs strongly demanded by the country.

The application procedures shall be initiated by the universities, scientific research institutions, enterprises, or financial institutions in China which have reached a specific intention of employment with the candidates. For entrepreneurs who have already established companies in China, the application shall be submitted by the industrial park where the companies are located.

The final decision will be made by the Committee for the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, which is responsible for leading, organizing and coordinating the processes of the Plan.

More information is available at

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