Wuhan city in Hubei province in central China. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Central China’s Hubei province has said it will ease work-permit rules for overseas Chinese and foreign professionals in a bid to encourage them to work in pilot areas of its free-trade zone and Wuhan Full-Scale Innovation and Reform Pilot Area.

Hubei’s public security department launched 10 new measures last week to provide convenience to foreigners who want to develop their careers or start businesses in the province, Changjiang Daily reported.

The province will (1) launch a new scheme for foreign high-end professionals to apply for permanent residency in Hubei; (2) launch a system to categorize foreign talents; (3) increase the period of stay for overseas Chinese; (4) ease the requirements for overseas Chinese to apply for permanent residency in Hubei; (5) support foreign students to start their own businesses; (6) allow foreign students to work; (7) support young foreign talents to take up internship offers; (8) broaden the coverage of long-stay visas; (9) allow researchers to do part-time jobs and (10) increase the number of port offices with work-permit services for foreigners.

Foreign college graduates who want to start a business in Hubei can apply for two-year residency permits on a private basis. And those who are employed by local companies can apply for work permits.

Foreign high school graduates can take up internship offers in Hubei with residency permits on a private basis. And those granted work-related permits twice can apply for long-stay visas.   

Foreigners can apply for work permits in port offices of free-trade zones in Wuhan, Yichang and Xiangyang cities, as well as Wuhan Full-Scale Innovation and Reform Pilot Area, China News Service reported.

On March 29, Hubei Foreign Experts Administration Bureau launched an easy-to-apply work permit for foreigners, effective from April 1. On April 18, an Australian woman received a work permit and became the first foreigner to benefit from the new rule.

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