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December 29, 2010

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Hukou limits dropped

SHANGHAI has dropped the limit on the number of professionals from outside the city who can apply for permanent residency in a bid to attract more high-level talent.

Everyone who comes to work in Shanghai under the city's project to bring in talented professionals can now apply for permanent residence permits, or hukou, for themselves and their spouses and children.

"There's no limit on the number of the applications," Ding Zhenwen, an official with the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, said yesterday.

If they qualify, they can settle down in the city and enjoy the same benefits, including social insurance, health care and education opportunities, as local citizens. "There's no limit on the approved number either," Ding said.

This year, at least 42 professionals who arrived in the city under the project have been offered permanent residency, and another 132 people will be awarded hukou later if no objections are raised.


Ding said that the introduction of more high-quality professionals working in high-tech, finance and trade and shipping industries was essential to boost the city's social and economic development. The city began its introduction project in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, holders of temporary residency can become permanent residents after living in the city for seven years if they meet certain criteria. More than 2,000 people, including 83 migrant workers, have so far have obtained full residency.

With a floating population of about 6 million, Shanghai began a three-year trial in June 2009 to make it easier for people from outside the city to gain permanent-resident status - the country's first major city to ease its rigid hukou system in a bid to attract skilled professionals.

In addition, the city is also hunting for more overseas talent. Shanghai launched the Recruitment Program of Global Experts two years ago, hoping to boost innovative and high-tech industries.

Yesterday, about 50 overseas professionals gathered in the Pudong New Area to hear about career opportunities in the city at a meeting organized by the city government.


Two earlier sessions had persuaded more than 180 finance professionals to settle in the city.

This time, the session attracted people from broader fields including shipping and biochemicals. Some expressed an interest in starting their own enterprises while others wanted to find out about the city's policies to attract overseas Chinese to return.

Ren Fuji, a professor at a Japanese university, said he wanted to set up an international research center for intelligent robotics to tap a soaring market for nursing services for the elderly.

In a related initiative, the Pudong New Area plans to work with New York University to set up a Shanghai campus in the Lujiazui area. The area will also work with Harvard Business School to provide training courses.

Over the next five to 10 years, Shanghai plans to attract 2,000 overseas professionals to bolster the development of industries such as shipping, trade and finance. The number of overseas experts in Shanghai would then be 210,000.

Between 20 to 30 innovation bases for overseas professionals will also be built near universities, research centers and enterprises.


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