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New details for residence permits

THE Shanghai government released details of its three-year trial plan to make it easier for people from outside the city to become permanent residents, it said at a news briefing yesterday.

The first batch of applicants who meet the requirements only amount to about 3,000 as they must have held a Shanghai Residence Card for at least seven years, said Ye Minzhong, deputy director of the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission. The Shanghai Residence Card is a temporary permit that was launched in 2002.

Officials said there will be no quota on the number of permanent residence permits granted during the three-year test run although that could change once the trial ends.

"We will grant it (the permanent residence) to whoever meets the requirements in the trial period," said an official in the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau who asked not to be named.

With a population of nearly 19 million people, Shanghai became the country's first large city to ease its previously rigid hukou system in a bid to attract skilled professionals. Shanghai had about 7.2 million migrant people by the end of last year, according to the city's population and family planning commission.

The seven-year period can be shortened for highly qualified technicians and business owners making huge financial contributions to the city.

"Migrant workers are definitely included as candidates, especially blue-collar workers in the advanced manufacturing industry," said Mao Dali, the bureau's deputy director.

Quotas may be introduced to control the number of permanent residency permits each year after the three-year trial as more people are given a Shanghai Residence Card in recent years, said Ye.

The number of Shanghai's temporary residence card holders jumped from 400,000 in 2006 to 6.81 million last year.

Applicants for permanent residency must submit forms with the help of their employers and no agents are allowed to be involved in the procedure.

The city's social security authority will give a primary assessment for applications within 15 days and pass it on to the city-level authority, which will give its decision 30 days later.

"If approved, each candidate will be given a serial number based on which a hukou is given," Mao said.

The city government is also researching a policy to let domestic talents obtain a hukou directly, Ye said.

Zhang Jianhong, 28, a Hubei native who came to the city 10 years ago and started a company last year, said the requirements are too strict.


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