Capital considers easing hukou rules

BEIJING – Officials will explore additional ways for talented people from outside the capital to acquire the city’s hukou (permanent residency permit), as long as the applicants accumulate enough grading points, according to a proposal passed on Monday by the city’s political advisers.

The grading system may be based on criteria such as the applicant’s contributions in scientific or technological research, professional skills and how long he or she has lived in Beijing, according to the proposal by the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Applicants will be given the hukou if they reach the standards.

“This system will be more objective, measurable, transparent and open for talented people to gain hukou,” said Lu Jiehua, a sociology professor with Peking University, who is also a member of the CPPCC Beijing committee.

“It may take one year or more for talented people to accumulate enough points,” said Lu. “And people with desirable talents will be taken into account, including skilled manual workers.”

The proposal came as Beijing begins to impose strict limits on population growth and cuts the number of hukou granted to non-locals.

In China, a hukou is closely tied to a raft of benefits such as access to affordable housing and children’s schooling.

The Beijing hukou is one of the most coveted in China for both workers and college graduates, but it is harder to get compared to those in other cities. In the capital, a person without a hukou is not allowed to buy a house or register a car unless he or she pays income tax in the city for five consecutive years.

Lu Xiongyu, who works at a machinery trading company in Beijing, told China Daily that he welcomed the proposal.

“If the policy comes into effect, it will be good news for people like me. But I want to know if I could be covered and if policymakers would recognize my contribution to the city,” he said.

Some college graduates said they might think about changing their original plans and shifting their workplace to Beijing if the proposal is adopted.

Jin Bei, a postgraduate student at Wuhan University in Central China’s Hubei province, would consider this.

With her graduation in late June, Jin originally planned to seek a job in Guangzhou or Shenzhen, both in South China’s Guangdong province.

“It’s good news to me because the hard access to a Beijing hukou has made me shy away from seeking a job in the capital,” she said.

“If the restrictions on hukou in Beijing will be partly removed and the job I find there can help me acquire a local hukou, I may change my plan and try to find a job there,” she said.

Qiao Xiaochun, a population expert with Peking University, said the political advisers’ suggestion mainly aims to help the city to attract more highly qualified technology workers.

“But whether the move would benefit ordinary white-collar workers depends on the details of the policy. But it’s a good start that the capital is considering removing its hukou settlement restrictions,” he said.

In June 2010, Guangdong province launched the country’s first grading system for issuing hukou to non-locals, by which migrant workers from other provinces would be able to settle down with a local hukou. Recently, more than 100,000 migrant workers have acquired hukou through this system in Guangdong’s urban areas.

China Daily

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