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City plan will grant migrants benefits

By Zhou Wenting (China Daily)

08:54, June 20, 2013

Points awarded for contribution, open doors to public services

A point system is to be introduced in Shanghai for migrant residents from other parts of the mainland, with personal circumstances and contributions translated into points corresponding to the public services they are eligible for.

Shanghai is the first city on the mainland to adopt such a system, which will take effect on July 1.

"The policy conforms to the country's intention of rationally controlling oversized populations in major cities," said Mao Dali, deputy director of the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

Shanghai had 23.8 million permanent residents in 2012, while its permanent migrant population reached almost 10 million, according to the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission.

Anybody who resides and has legitimate and stable employment in the city can apply for a residence permit and provide materials to gain corresponding points.

Points will be earned based on the resident's age, years of work and social insurance contributions in Shanghai, as well as educational and technical qualifications.

More specific details about the point system will be made public through government websites and the media.

Residents who make a significant investment in Shanghai or otherwise contribute to boosting local employment will earn 100 points, while those providing fake information will lose 150 points.

Anybody who violates the family planning policy or has a record of serious criminal offenses will be disqualified.

The points will be accumulated and a total of 120 will win the residence permit holder some major social benefits, such as social insurance and getting the same standard of pension as permanent residents, and their children having the right to sit the national college entrance exam in Shanghai.

"The number of students taking the national college entrance exam in Shanghai is certain to increase," said Mao, but he declined to give the estimated figure.

The three benefits that they cannot enjoy, which are exclusively for people who have registered permanent residence, are accepting family members as their dependents, health insurance, and applying for affordable housing, Mao said.

Chen Shu, a native of Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, has worked at a publishing company in Shanghai for five years.

She said the system would encourage people to get more favorable social benefits and be better integrated into the city through their hard work.

"The policy sets out prospects for people moving to Shanghai like me," said Chen, 27.

Drawing from overseas experience, especially the credit system of immigration policies, the system also takes into account the actual conditions of Shanghai, said Weng Huajian, chief economist with the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission.

"The policy aims at promoting the equitable and orderly flow of talents, but that needs to correspond with the capabilities of the city, and we need to seek a balance between the needs of the population and economic development," he said.

Population experts said the policy rejects migrant workers.

"I cannot see any other point a migrant worker can get except at most 30 points for age. Migrant workers may not be regarded as talents, but they make contributions to the city while receiving few decent benefits," said Gu Jun, a sociology professor at Shanghai University.

Gu Baochang, a professor with the Population and Development Studies Center of Renmin University of China, said the policy is a deviation from objective needs.

"High-end talents alone cannot support any big city in the world. Shanghai has an aging population and a large demand for nursing staff, a job that someone with a doctorate probably wouldn't do," he said.

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