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Shanghai hunts for overseas talent
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08:42, July 02, 2009

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Business leaders and scientists are among a group of professionals who can extend their residency permits under a new policy designed to attract more talent to the nation's most populous city.

The policy, which took effect yesterday, allows a greater number of overseas investors and professionals working in the city's Pudong district the opportunity to extend their residency permit to five years - the maximum term allowed in China with exception of the permanent residency pass.

The residency reform was approved by the Ministry of Public Security to help the city of nearly 20 million become more attractive to expatriates and help evolve the city into a larger financial hub by 2020.

Official statistics show more than 100,000 expatriates are currently working and living in Shanghai, the highest among all mainland Chinese cities. In Pudong alone, the number is over 48,000.

The group allowed under the new policy includes high-tech company executives, multinational leaders, scientists and professors employed by China's key institutions of higher learning, and those who have made "a great contribution" to the city, said the municipal public security bureau in a media briefing yesterday.

Executives from companies in Pudong with a registered capital volume over $3 million are eligible for the extension, down from the $30 million threshold under the previous policy.

The plan also applies to eligible applicants' spouses and children under 18.

"(The extension of residency permit) in the past was only enjoyed by people from big name multinational companies with their regional headquarters in Shanghai, but now those from private enterprises investing here can also do that," said Zhang Xinguang, spokesman from the Bureau of Exit-Entry Administration under the public security bureau.

Shanghai has seen an increasing inflow of foreigners coming to work here, said Sun Hande, director of the labor and employment center for foreigners under the municipal labor and social security bureau.

The number has grown by 13 times over the past 13 years, he said.

Myrthe Beulens, a woman in her 30s from Holland who came to the city two years ago with her husband, said the new rule is "very convenient" since they no longer have to renew them every year.

She and her husband, a manager at a foreign company in Shanghai, both received the extended residency permits yesterday from one to three years.

"I enjoy living in China and especially in Shanghai, to work here and to develop our careers, so we are very happy with this opportunity (to stay longer).

"It's nice to think that the government here wants us to stay longer," she said.

Ge Hua, human resources manager from BASF Auxiliary Chemicals Co Ltd in Shanghai, told China Daily that the new rule could not only help the city attract more talent, but also reduce managing costs for companies.

But Sun said that Shanghai may have "a long way to go" before it lives up to the expectation of an international city, he was quoted as saying earlier last month by the Oriental Outlook.

Source: China Daily

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