China announces new digital ID platform for expatriate details

Published:  25 Oct at 6 PM
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China’s new digital ID platform is expected to provide easy expat access to public services.

The new digital identity verification site is expected to allow far easier access to China’s public services than exists at present. The system will hold names and passport details of every foreigner arriving in the vast country, sharing the info with a nationwide authentication platform. Expat access will be given to 35 specific public services including finance, accommodation, healthcare and education, with the listings expanded to cover everything by the end of this year.

A recent release by China’s National Immigration Administration admitted expats weren’t able to access the basic government services, internet services and public services easily accessed by residents unless they had one of the coveted Green Card documents. As a result, the new platform is intended to act in the same manner as the Green Card, giving real-time IDs for organisations which require the service. Strict rules and regulations cover the new platform in order to prevent its use for the wrong reasons.

The National Immigration Bureau is hoping the innovation will attract even more expat top talent to the country, thus increasing entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s possible, given the huge number of expats who use online forums, the explanation for the new programme may also suggest an intent by the Chinese government to keep an even closer eye on foreigners living and working in the country, especially as its problems with Hong Kong aren’t likely to go away any time soon. However, the vast majority of expatriate professionals and entrepreneurs at present in China may benefit as they’re mostly in the country for the long-term.
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