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6 Foreign Residents in Suzhou Receive "Green Cards"

On the afternoon of Nov. 16, when Mr. Barbalas received "Permanent Resident Card for Foreigners in the People's Republic of China" from the hands of Shao Binhua, Chief of Suzhou Municipal Bureau of Public Security, 6 foreign expatriates, Barbalas included, became the first to obtain "Chinese Green Cards" in Suzhou. The biggest advantage of the green card is that the holder only needs to go through the simplest procedure of making a record at immigration desk at exit or entry of China. Mr. Barbalas was excited to tell the reporters, "I feel really happy that my family can live permanently in this beautiful country, and in Suzhou."

The first foreign expatriates who received permanent resident permits are: Mr. Barbalas, GM of Andrew Telecommunications (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., his wife Lorina Barbalas, and two sons, Jonathan and David (American nationals), Mr. Wong, GM of Philips Suzhou Chunfei Household Electrical Appliances Co., Ltd., and 13-year-old Japanese boy Matsutake.

Currently, the eligible applicants for permanent resident permit in China are of the following 4 categories: senior foreign expatriate members of institutions that have played important role in promoting economic, technological, and social progress of China; foreign individuals who have directly invested relatively high amount in China; foreign individuals who have made outstanding contributions to China or who are urgently needed by China; and foreigners to join their espouses, or children to join their parents, or aged people to join their relatives.

According to relevant stipulations, foreign expatriates with permanent resident permit should live in China for an accumulated length of no less than 3 months every year, but in case they cannot do so, they obtain the approval from the police bureau of the place of their permanent residence, under the condition that the accumulated length of residence in China should be no less than a year during a 5-year period. The period of validity varies from 5 years to 10 years, and the holder of "foreigner's permanent resident permit" does not need to apply for visa within the period, and enjoys multiple entries with the permit.

According to police officer Jin of Exit and Entry Administration Dept. of the Municipal Police Bureau, several dozen foreign expatriates have submitted applications for permanent resident permits in our city. Mr. Wong said after receiving the green cards, "As one of the first foreign expatriates to receive permanent resident permit in Suzhou, I feel very much honored. I have been working here since 1997, and found the international nature of the city more and more apparent."

Nov. 17, 2005

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