The first group of 60 people from outside the city were granted Shanghai Residential Cards on Saturday, which means they can enjoy the same privileges as locals.
The move is attempted to attract more skilled workers and talent to the city. As required, domestic and overseas people can both apply for the card, which does not change people's nationalities.
The cards awarded on Saturday were divided into A- and B-types. Thirty talented domestic people got Card A, and the other 30 from overseas got Card B.
Zheng Zhihong and her husband Zhao Jian are a returned couple with Canadian nationality who started their own enterprise in 1997. "Granted the cards, we really feel honoured to be Shanghai residents," Zhao said.
Li Sanli, director of the Computer Engineering and Science College of Shanghai University, got the first Card A.
"The implementation of the policy shows that the city is striding towards integrating itself with the world," said Li, who participated in research leading to the computer with the fastest processing speed in the country.
Different from traditional residence, local authorities believe that the new policy offers more flexibility.
The system of residential cards is called huko' in Chinese and almost all things in one's daily life are connected with it.
Hukou is under the administration of different levels of government. Without it, migrants have difficulty job-hunting, schooling and enjoying social welfare.
(China Daily June 17, 2002)