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China Needs More Foreign Talents

The fast growing Chinese economy calls for higher requirements for expatriate employees, which means more rigorous standards will be required in educational backgrounds and professional qualifications for applications for work permits in China.

At a recent national working conference on foreigners' employment management in Shenzhen, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security decided to revise China's Expatriate Employment Regulation.

Formulated in 1996, the regulation is outdated in some respects particularly after China entered the WTO and a large number of foreigners started working in China. As in other industries, the employment market for foreigners has to comply with international practices.

"Many foreign countries adopt very strict criteria in granting work permits for foreigners, based on the principle of protecting local job seekers," said Li Yuan, vice director of the Foreign Employment Service Center under the Shenzhen Municipal Labor and Social Security Bureau.

As business competition is more severe, the mounting employment pressure has become a big problem, particularly in the commercial centers of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. In Shenzhen, the special economic zone has made great strides in opening up and is attracting more foreigners to work in the city. So far there are more than 6,000 expatriates working in Shenzhen and the number is expected to increase more dramatically in the next few years.

Revising the less strict approval standards for work permits for foreigners has become an urgent task. Participants at the conference agreed that those with senior management experience or technical expertise were welcome, while there will be much higher entry requirements for positions that Chinese employees can be trained to do.

"For jobs like repair workers or pancake chefs, there is no need to employ many of them, as Chinese employees can also do it well after training," said Ding Yanyan, an official with the Shenzhen Foreign Employment Service Center.

(Shenzhen Daily December 21, 2004)

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