Shanghai, the biggest business and industrial center in China, began to issue its first residence permits to people from outside the city on Saturday.
The permit enables people to live and work in the city whether or not they have Chinese citizenship.
Local officials presented 60 professionals from home and abroad with the first permits at a Shanghai ceremony.
The group included Canadian-trained Zhao Jian, a CEO for a computer technology company and Qian Xuefeng, vice-president of a local branch of an overseas investment company.
The permit is described in the city as the Shanghai version of the American green card and social security card.
According to the regulations applying to the permit, holders are allowed to engage in science and research activities, start a business and apply for jobs in government institutions and local businesses.
Children of the permit holders will enjoy the same right to education in local schools as local children do.
Chinese citizens from outside the city who hold permits are also covered by local pension and medical insurance schemes.
More information on application for the permit can be obtained from the following website: www.21cnhr.com.
(China Daily, June 17, 2002)