Foreign expert numbers soaring in Shanghai

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Some 81,000 foreign experts were working in Shanghai at the end of last year - a third more than in 2005, the local labor authority said yesterday.

Shanghai has more foreign experts - overseas professionals recognized by a government certificate - than any other city in China, said the local human resources and social security bureau.

Indeed, one in six of foreign experts in China are based in Shanghai.

Certified foreign experts mostly work in cultural, educational and research sectors.

This category does not include other foreigners legally hired to work locally on work permits.

At the end of 2010, some 210,000 foreign nationals were living in Shanghai, according to the latest population census.

Over the past five years, 370,000 foreign expert employment contacts were established or renewed, officials said.

Meanwhile, the city is attracting growing numbers of Chinese graduating from overseas institutes and returning to China to begin their careers.

The bureau said there are currently about 95,000 returned Chinese being employed or running their own businesses in Shanghai - up by more than 30,000 from 2005.

Officials said in recent years, Chinese graduates from overseas schools have set up 4,400 companies in Shanghai with investment of US$620 million.

The city is also aiming to attract 1,000 more senior professionals from foreign countries over the next five years.

Incentives will include supporting the opening of more international schools in Shanghai, lowering tuitions for children of foreign professionals and cutting visa red tape, officials said.

The government also plans to develop more hospitals accredited by foreign insurers so foreigners working in Shanghai can have local medical bills covered by insurance policies bought overseas.

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