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Shanghai may persuade migrants to return home
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Shanghai is trying to maintain job opportunities for migrant workers, but an official admitted yesterday that the city may have to persuade some to return to their hometowns as the economic downturn cuts local payrolls.

Many of the 4 million migrant workers who were in Shanghai last year went home for Spring Festival and may have trouble finding work when they return.

Though measures have been taken to help these workers secure employment, the city government may soon begin asking those who remain jobless to go back to their hometowns, a senior official with the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau told the Website of Xinmin Evening News yesterday, without elaborating on exactly how that would be done.

Local firms have been asked to try to avoid cutting jobs for migrant workers, or if layoffs are necessary, to minimize the cuts, the official said.

City government has launched a campaign to provide migrant workers with information on job opportunities and career development.

The human resources bureau plans to set up a database this year covering the city's labor market. Each company will be required to report its new hires and resignations monthly.

More than 15 percent of China's 130 million migrant workers are now unemployed due to the economic slowdown.

About 60 percent of all migrant workers returned home for the Lunar New Year celebration, up 10 percent from a year ago. But the number of enterprises that plan to recruit after the holiday is down 20 percent.

Many factories in export-driven southern China have closed, raising concern that social stability in rural areas will come under new pressure as unemployed migrant workers lack the income to support their families.

The central government plans to provide migrant workers with preferential policies, including job training courses.

(Shanghai Daily February 6, 2009)

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