Suzhou, located in Jiangsu Province in east China, has implemented a range of fresh policies to attract and keep foreign talent, as reported by the Global Times. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and tense relations between China and the US, Suzhou is dedicated to enhancing the lives of foreign workers seeking employment in the city's media.

The local government of Suzhou, famous for its historic gardens and canals, has arranged charter flights to enable expats stuck in the country to return to work. Additionally, they have launched a multitude of policies to assist both current and prospective foreign workers in acquiring their work and residence permits more efficiently.

At a press conference on Friday, Wanyong Gu, the deputy director of Suzhou Science and Technology Bureau, stated that the city aims to attract 2,500 high-level foreign talents by the end of next year. He also announced other measures such as a credit system for firms employing foreigners to gain special privileges, allowing them to file the necessary work permit materials and abolishing the senior age limit for foreign talents. Furthermore, the age limit will be increased from 60 to 70 for other professionals.

To facilitate the visa renewal process, high-level expat talent can now apply for both work and residence permits in a single window in the Suzhou area of Jiangsu Pilot Free Trade Zone and obtain documents in approximately 15 days. In contrast, the previous system required foreigners to apply to two government agencies and wait roughly 25 days for processing. According to a German engineer cited by the Global Times, he only took an hour to apply for an extension compared to half a day in previous years.

The pandemic has resulted in a decrease in the number of foreigners in Suzhou, with only 11,800 work permits remaining until the end of June. As a result, the local foreign affairs office has organized special chartered flights, bringing back over 370 foreign employees from 95 firms to Suzhou during the peak of the pandemic.


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