Shenzhen Hukou Reform
    2012-05-10 08:50:20         Web Editor: Mao

The city of Shenzhen has relaxed its residence registration policies in an effort to welcome more workers to settle in the city.

Under the new policy, college graduates can apply for Hukou, or permanent local residence certificate, which brings with it benefits for those working and living in the city. The reform is part of a pilot program among a number of cities across China.

Let's find out more with our reporter Liu Min.

The southern coastal city of Shenzhen is the pioneer of opening-up and reform in China. It is also a large base for China's manufacturing industry. In the past, only graduates from top universities with master's degrees related to certain subjects could gain permission to permanently settle in the city and enjoy all the local benefits. Now, local Hukou is open to all college graduates.

Director Yu Ming from the Shenzhen Human Resources and Social Welfare Bureau says the Hukou reform in the city aims to lure talented individuals from across the country to Shenzhen.

"We've canceled the list of limitations relating to a person's major, university and job position in giving Hukou. As long as the market needs specific people, we will welcome talented individuals to settle in the city."

In China, Hukou is closely related to the benefits a person can obtain, such as social and medical insurance, and educational services for children. It even determines whether a person is able to purchase a house in certain cities such as Beijing. Permanent Residence registration reform has been taking place at different levels in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Wuhan.

Now in Shenzhen, thanks to the latest round of reforms, it will be easier for college graduates who hold rural Hukous to be accepted into the city. Self-employed individuals or those who have started a business can also apply for Shenzhen residence. Many college graduates are excited about the new policy.

"I think Shenzhen is trying to upgrade itself to a younger city in order to attract more talented people. I think I will seize the opportunity to find a job in Shenzhen when I graduate from college."

In recent years, those cities with a large number of manufacturing businesses have suffered from a labor shortage. Many young workers tend to find jobs in their home towns instead of working in the larger cities for a number of reasons. The new policy in Shenzhen not only relates to college graduates with bachelor's degrees, it also encourages those who only have college diplomas to move to the city so long as the local employers are willing to hire them.
Ren Yinggang is the general manager of a local company specializing in sewage purification. When his company attempted to hire more technicians they were hampered by the city's labor shortage. Ren says the new policy is good news for his company.

"Those who specialize in research and production development are usually the type of people who want a stable life. If you don't have permanent residence status, you will always be thinking about where you will be able to settle down. But once that person receives a Hukou, they will consider Shenzhen as their home and will no longer have to worry."

The population of Shenzhen has exceeded 15 million, but only three million are registered permanent residents. Based on the old policy, the city can provide local residence status for 200 thousand people every year; 60 thousand of which are college graduates. The city's GDP represents more than two percent of the entire country's GDP, but the number of college graduates accepted by the city accounts for less than one percent of the country's total.

Professor Guo Wangda, from the China Development Institute says the new policy will benefit the city's social and economic development.

"Cities in China are trying to upgrade their industrial models. In order to do this, they need more talented individuals. Without enough talent, it is impossible to support the upgrade. The relaxed policy in Shenzhen signals the possibility of further opening-up in the future. For example, more professional and vocational people can settle down in the city, including migrant workers who have undergone technical training in specific areas."

The Hukou system in China has played an important role in managing the country's huge population. However, alongside economic and social development, the model has led to numerous problems including the imbalanced allotment of social and economic resources throughout the country. The Chinese media have stated that the reform in Shenzhen has lifted a barrier, thus allowing for a more equal flow of talent.

For CRI, I'm Liu Min.


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