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Shanghai Attracts Talent With 'Green Card' Initiative
The country's largest commercial city, Shanghai, has issued the first 304 "green cards" to overseas residents since the launch of its new personnel scheme last month to attract more talent from overseas.

More than 90 percent of the new cardholders are Chinese students and their families returning from abroad, while the rest include people from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao, according to the latest statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Personnel Bureau.

On June 15, Shanghai became the first city in China to take the initiative and issue Shanghai Residence Cards to domestic migrants and overseas residents who work in the city.

Those who meet the comprehensive requirements can apply for the cards to enjoy the same privileges as locals when they work and live in Shanghai, according to the bureau.

And they do not need to change their residence or nationality, the bureau added.

Overseas cardholders will also enjoy a simplified procedure for their transnational trips. The cards have a time limit of respectively one, three and five years.

In the past, Shanghai, as other cities around the country, solely implemented the personnel policy of "hukou" or permanent residence. Only local residents with "hukou" could enjoy the privileges of education, employment and social security.

Foreigners and migrants from outside Shanghai could only have access to equal treatment if they changed their residence or nationality.

Chen Jintian, an official with the Shanghai Municipal Personnel Bureau, said the new residence system will help the city attract more professional talent from around the world.

More than 2,000 overseas residents are expected to be awarded with the new cards by next July, according to the bureau.

Chen noted the new residence system will be "further amplified" in the coming years to bring more conveniences to overseas residents who work and invest in Shanghai.

Relevant government departments covering public security, transportation and education will combine their efforts to better serve the cardholders, said Chen.

Information on the new policy may be found at the website http://oversea.21cnhr.com, or via the English service hotline at (8621) 64045568-6318, Chen said.

Shanghai welcomes those overseas residents who specialize in certain high technologies or have abundant administrative experience to work in the city while it strictly controls the entry of ordinary foreign laborers, said Sun Hande, director with the Shanghai Municipal Labor and Social Security Bureau, who administers the foreigners' employment.

According to bureau statistics, more than 5,700 foreigners are now working in Shanghai and the number is expected to increase 30 percent annually.

(China Daily July 19)

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