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Returned Migrant Workers Seek New Jobs at Home
Migrant workers who returned home during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are seeking new jobs with the help of local governments.

Tian Yu, from the Dabie Mountain area in east China's Anhui Province, became a salesman after returning from Tianjin in late April, a north China port city where he had been working.

In one month, Tian earned 5,000 yuan (US$604) by selling 100 kg of tea, about a half-year's income for him in Tianjin.

"I was worried about my job and income after coming home. Now, the government has helped me find a new job and I get better pay than before," said Tian.

The local government of Qianshan County in Anhui, Tian's hometown, organized over 30,000 returned migrant workers to sell eco-friendly agricultural produces including rice, tea and melon seeds.

Statistics show that China has over 80 million migrants working in urban areas, who contribute greatly to their family income. About eight million returned home in the past several months. Roughly half of them got home due to SARS reasons and the other half returned for seasonal harvests. Their income saw a big drop.

Seeing a large flow of returned migrant workers, the governments at various levels in Sichuan, Anhui, Hunan, Henan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces have exerted great efforts to help the migrants find new jobs at home while taking emergency measures in SARS prevention.

Anqing City in Anhui issued favorable policies to encourage its migrant workers to start their own business at home.

In Suixi County of Anhui, over 8,000 migrants have found new jobs in 20 private and foreign enterprises. The local government also helped over 10,000 migrants grow high-quality industrial crops and green vegetables and fruits. By now, Suixi County has over 30,000 returned workers employed through various channels.

Sichuan issued a policy of financial transfer to make up the loss in its SARS-affected areas and the loss of laborers caused by SARS. The government also offered training courses to teach returned migrants special skills and helped them find jobs after ratifying their health cards.

Related administrative departments also gave special support to migrants. Anhui Industrial and Commercial Bureau offered a favorable policy, which promised a registration fee exemption and temporary certificates for local migrants to start their own businesses.

When SARS gradually came under control, some rural migrants began to return to their urban work. Accordingly, the concerned governments have started to prepare for the coming outflow. They collected job information and opened hotlines for migrants to build a bridge between the employers and the migrant workers. They also created a health record for each migrant and strictly controlled the outflow by issuing health certificates.

(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2003)

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