Beijing, April 17 (IANS) Almost one million foreign nationals worked on the Chinese mainland in 2016, the media reported on Monday.
In the 1980s, less than 10,000 foreigners came to China for work each year, Zhang Jianguo, head of China's State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs said on Sunday during the 15th Conference on the International Exchange of Professionals, held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
According to Zhang, foreign experts are the "indispensable power in the National Strategy of Innovation-Driven Development", the Global Times reported.
"China should launch practical projects to attract foreign talents that cater to their features to avoid the 'waste of talents'," Zhang noted.
In December 2016, the Ministry of Public Security announced 10 rules related to China's entry and exit policies, which authorised the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone and the Shanghai Free Trade Zone to recommend high-level foreign staff for permanent residence permits, or "Chinese green cards".
These allow foreign talents to enjoy the same rights as Chinese citizens in areas such as investment, housing and schooling.
Moreover, the total number of Chinese overseas students who have returned to China is increasing every year, with more than 432,000 students returning in 2016, the highest since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, when only 248 returned.