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December 11, 2011

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Hukous likely a little easier to get

HEROIC acts and voluntary work are set to be recognized in applications for permanent residency in Shanghai, the city has announced.

This will increase opportunities for out-of-towners to apply for a hukou - the permanent residence permit entitling its holder to the same social welfare benefits Shanghainese receive.

Officials said details were still being drafted and a complete set of rules would be announced during the second quarter next year.

The government said that good deeds such as saving someone's life or undertaking voluntary work would be recognized as valuable credentials under the future appraisal system.

The change would give migrant worker laborers a better chance of gaining a permanent residency permit.

A Shanghai hukou is highly coveted by many non-local residents. In general, it entitles people to better social welfare standards compared to those available in lower-tier cities and rural areas.

The certificate also grants easier access to Shanghai's well-developed public schooling and medical care resources.

In 2009, the city government loosened the threshold for non-locals to receive such residency permits.

The current policy mainly favors professionals, allowing those who have worked the required number of years in Shanghai and attained valuable work achievements to apply.

The latest population census, completed last year, found the local population had reached 23 million, with nearly 40 percent without a permanent residency permit.

The planned changes to the policy have been criticized by some Shanghainese.

Some web users complained yesterday that further loosening Shanghai's hukou policy would lead to a higher population, placing further pressure on the city's social safety net and public services.


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