The government of Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, pledged to attract more foreign talent to work and live in the city by rolling out policies amid the COVID-19 and tense China-US relations. 

For those who have already started their career in Suzhou, the city government launched a pilot program to allow foreigners to attain work and residence permits easier and faster. 

The Suzhou city government also arranged charter flights to fly back foreign employees who could not timely return to the city for work due to COVID-19. 

Gu Wanyong, deputy director of Suzhou Bureau of Science and Technology, said the city would remove age restrictions for foreign high-end talents, and lift the age restrictions for other eligible foreign professionals to 70 years old. 

Other measures included establishing a credit system for companies that hire foreign talents so that such companies can enjoy preferential policies to help their foreign employees submit materials required for work permits, he said at a press conference on Friday. 

The city aims at attracting 10,000 high-level talents by the end of 2022, including 2,500 foreign high-level talents, Gu said.

As of the end of June, the city had 11,800 foreign talents with work permits. But due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of foreign talents the city attracted in the first half of this year has reduced compared with the same period last year, according to the bureau.

Since the end of June, the city launched a new pilot program allowing foreigners working in the city to enjoy quicker approval of work and residence permits. 

Under the pilot program, foreigners can apply for both work and residence permits at the special window of work and residence permits for high-end foreign talents at Suzhou Area of the Jiangsu Pilot Free Trade Zone, and they can receive the two permits in about 15 days. 

Previously, foreigners had to visit two government agencies - local science and technology commission and public security bureau - in applying for the two permits, and they had to wait for 25 working days to get them. 

Since the implementation of the program on June 30, a total of 112 applications were handled, said Xu Ying, a police officer from the exit and entry administration of Suzhou industrial park branch of the public security bureau.  

A German engineer who gave his name as Arlph said he applied for a visa extension for him and his family and the whole process was very convenient. "It took about one hour at the scene, and then I can go home," Arlph said. 

But when he first applied for residence permit at the bureau four years ago, it took him half a day to submit materials, he said. 

To better facilitate the work resumption of foreign companies in Suzhou, local foreign affairs office has coordinated 10 charter flights returning to the city and since March, 372 foreign employees from 95 companies have returned to the city, an official surnamed Zhou from the local foreign affairs office said. 

In a latest example, the foreign affairs office of Changshu, a county-level city administrated by Suzhou arranged a charter flight carrying some 100 Japanese employees to return to Suzhou via Sunan Shuofang International Airport in nearby Wuxi city last week.

According to a 2019 survey released by the magazine under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Suzhou made the top 10 list of Chinese cities that are most attractive to foreigners. 




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Suzhou needs more foreign talents


The government of Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, pledged to attract more foreign talent to work and live in the city by rolling out policies amid the COVID-19 and tense China-US relations. 

For those who have already started their career in Suzhou, the city government launched a pilot program to allow foreigners to attain work and residence permits easier and faster. 

The Suzhou city government also arranged charter flights to fly back foreign employees who could not timely return to the city for work due to COVID-19. 

Gu Wanyong, deputy director of Suzhou Bureau of Science and Technology, said the city would remove age restrictions for foreign high-end talents, and lift the age restrictions for other eligible foreign professionals to 70 years old. 

Other measures included establishing a credit system for companies that hire foreign talents so that such companies can enjoy preferential policies to help their foreign employees submit materials required for work permits, he said at a press conference on Friday. 

The city aims at attracting 10,000 high-level talents by the end of 2022, including 2,500 foreign high-level talents, Gu said.

As of the end of June, the city had 11,800 foreign talents with work permits. But due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of foreign talents the city attracted in the first half of this year has reduced compared with the same period last year, according to the bureau.

Since the end of June, the city launched a new pilot program allowing foreigners working in the city to enjoy quicker approval of work and residence permits. 

Under the pilot program, foreigners can apply for both work and residence permits at the special window of work and residence permits for high-end foreign talents at Suzhou Area of the Jiangsu Pilot Free Trade Zone, and they can receive the two permits in about 15 days. 

Previously, foreigners had to visit two government agencies - local science and technology commission and public security bureau - in applying for the two permits, and they had to wait for 25 working days to get them. 

Since the implementation of the program on June 30, a total of 112 applications were handled, said Xu Ying, a police officer from the exit and entry administration of Suzhou industrial park branch of the public security bureau.  

A German engineer who gave his name as Arlph said he applied for a visa extension for him and his family and the whole process was very convenient. "It took about one hour at the scene, and then I can go home," Arlph said. 

But when he first applied for residence permit at the bureau four years ago, it took him half a day to submit materials, he said. 

To better facilitate the work resumption of foreign companies in Suzhou, local foreign affairs office has coordinated 10 charter flights returning to the city and since March, 372 foreign employees from 95 companies have returned to the city, an official surnamed Zhou from the local foreign affairs office said. 

In a latest example, the foreign affairs office of Changshu, a county-level city administrated by Suzhou arranged a charter flight carrying some 100 Japanese employees to return to Suzhou via Sunan Shuofang International Airport in nearby Wuxi city last week.

According to a 2019 survey released by the magazine under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Suzhou made the top 10 list of Chinese cities that are most attractive to foreigners. 




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