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January 6, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

City residence for Chinese returnees

CHINESE professionals who come to Shanghai to work after studying abroad will be able to apply for permanent residence, or hukou, if they sign a contract for a year or more with their employers.

The new ruling by the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau says returnees will have to be five years or more younger than the retirement age - currently 60 for men and 55 for women - to ensure they make adequate contributions to the city's social security fund.

"With the new rule, we expect that Shanghai can attract more overseas returnees to settle down here and make a contribution to the development of the city," said Huang Weimao, deputy general of the Shanghai Office for Introduction of Foreign Talents.

The policy applies to out-of-town Chinese professionals who went abroad to study but are returning to work in Shanghai.

With hukou, newcomers will be able to enjoy the same social insurance benefits as local residents, with their children granted access to city schools. Another benefit for people who go abroad often is that they won't need to return to their hometowns for visas.

At present, most returnees, as well as migrant professionals from other provinces, hold a Shanghai Residence Card which secures them social welfare benefits such as medical insurance and children's education in the city. But the card has to be renewed on an annual or three-year basis.

Residence card holders also have to go back to their hometowns for matters concerning legal documents such as passports or visas.

A few top professionals were granted hukou after the city launched large-scale professional recruitment projects around 2003.

Most are still residence card holders. However, in 2009 Shanghai became the first large city in China to allow card holders who had stayed in the city for more than seven years to apply for hukou.

Under the new rule, returnees' children under 16 can also apply for a Shanghai hukou. Spouses can also apply if the couple were married abroad or before their return to China. However, this doesn't apply in the case of a man or woman who marries after returning.

But according to the city's residence management policy, the spouse of a Shanghai hukou holder can obtain permanent residence seven years after marriage.

Returnees must obtain a "returnee certificate" from the Chinese Embassy in the country where they studied to confirm their details before applying for the residence permit through the human resources department of their employers.

Under the new rule, overseas returnees refer to Chinese who obtain bachelor or master degrees in overseas colleges, or people who have gained degrees on the Chinese mainland but have been engaged in advanced studies at overseas colleges or science research institutes for a year or more.

The detailed rule is available on the bureau's website (, but in Chinese only.


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