LHASA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- A record number of 118 foreigners were given permanent residence status in the Tibetan holy city of Lhasa on Wednesday.
Permanent residence gives a foreigner in China access to health care, education, property and other benefits enjoyed by the locals.
The foreigners -- including Swiss, French, and Nepalese nationals -- have been living in Lhasa for some time. A Nepalese national said it was a day worth remembering as he had wanted to be acknowledged as a resident for many years.
Norgyel, an immigration police official, said the city has never before issued so many permanent residence permits at once.
"The move clearly shows the authorities' commitment to improving procedures," he said.
Earlier this month, China's leadership held a meeting in Beijing vowing to improve rules and process for foreigners applying for permanent residency.
The move is critical for China's talent development strategy.
Last year, 1,576 foreigners became permanent Chinese residents, an increase of 163 percent over the previous year.