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March 19, 2019

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It’s a fair cop, consultations help expats learn rules and policies

Changning police intend to hold regular consultation events with expats.

The first one was held yesterday at the Gubei Civic Center with information on entry-exit requirements, drivers’ licenses and telephone scams.

Police officers with the Changning District Public Security Bureau’s exit-entry administration, traffic police and Hongqiao police station officers who can speak English, Japanese and Korean spoke to about 10 expats at the hourlong event.

The police mainly invited foreign residents, international school teachers and foreign company employees, so that they can promote information to other expats.

Multi-language brochures on safety and telephone scam prevention were also handed out.

Craig Williams, an international school teacher, took the Metro for 45 minutes from Nanxiang in suburban Jiading District to attend. He wanted information about a local driving license and visa policies.

“We usually can only ask friends and other expats about such policies, and often got many different answers,” he said. “Such events are very helpful to us.”

Williams is from the United States and has spent five years in the city. He plans to apply for a local driver’s license with his US license.

Xu Wei, a police chief with Changning traffic police, offered official guidelines. Foreigners can apply to the city’s vehicle management authority for a local driving license. They have to pass an English quiz about the city’s traffic laws and basic driving knowledge.

“Driving license application as well as rules on bicycle and skateboards are among the most frequently asked questions by expats,” Xu said.

Daniel Zimmerman, an international school librarian, said though Shanghai has convenient public transport, it is better to drive on rainy days when cabs are often unavailable.

Zimmerman has been serving as a volunteer with the traffic police for three years. He said he would pass on the information to other expats.

Lu Yun, an officer with the district police’s exit-entry administration office, said many foreign residents forget to register with local police stations when they first arrive. This can lead to fines and a bad credit record.

The police officers also gave information on identifying and preventing telephone scams.

“We usually don’t have opportunities to promote this knowledge among foreign residents, but it is quite necessary,” said Lu Jie, a police security team officer.

Stephen McMahon, who works for a US engineering company, said he once received a suspicious telephone call from an English-speaking person who wanted to collect business information about his company.

“We are taught to never share our personal information to unknown people over the phone,” McMahon said. “Though I’ve been living in Shanghai for 15 years, such reminders are necessary.”

There are about 79,000 foreign residents in Changning and about 20,000 of them are living in the Gubei community.

The event is part of the services provided by the Hongqiao Talent Services Center and the Expatriate Center at the civic center at 99 Fugui Road E.

The center, opened in October 2018, can accept applications for temporary residence and work permits as well as offer consultations on residence and employment.


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