It is now easier for top overseas talent to spend time in China getting to know the country before having to apply for a work permit, government officials said.
Under regulations on issuing R visas that took effect on Monday, foreign experts whose skills are in urgent demand would be allowed to stay in China for up to 180 days at a time, with multiple entries on a visa valid from five to 10 years.
The policies would also apply to the expat's spouse and children.
Top scientists, international entrepreneurs and other talent with specific high-level skills that are in need in the development of the country's economy and society are all qualified to apply for the visas, according to the regulations, released jointly by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security.
Streamlined applications also are available for the visas, said Gao Xiang, director of the policies and regulations department of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
Applications can be done online without any paperwork and are free of charge.
"Information uploaded by applicants will be shared by all the three departments, which will save the applicants' time since they won't need to hand in the information repeatedly," he said.
He added that the time it takes the departments to judge whether an expat is recognized as top talent has been reduced from 10 days to five days, which is much more convenient for expats. Once the expat is certified, the visa can be issued in two days.
Gao said the regulations reflect that China is implementing more open, inclusive, proactive and effective policies on talent, which makes the country more attractive to high-level talent globally.
"The regulations have been well-received among expats who want to work in China since they were released," he said. "The first confirmation letter for high-level foreign talent was issued on Jan 2 and we're now receiving more applications and inquiries."
Wang Huiyao, director of the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank in Beijing, took part in the proposal of the policies and was glad to see the regulations come into effect.
"By issuing the visa regulations, China is sending a signal that it welcomes top talent from across the world and that it's willing to create conditions for such talent to work and live in China," he said.