Pudong to be more welcoming to attract foreign talent

Wang Yong
The new area plans a system of direct recommendations to award right of permanent residence.
Wang Yong

If you are a foreign expert, you may well find it easier to work and live in Shanghai's Pudong New Area in the near future as it pioneers socialist modernization on a higher level.

China yesterday unveiled more details about what it means by turning Pudong into a "pioneer of socialist modernization," including new measures on welcoming foreign talent.

Weng Zuliang, Pudong's Party secretary, told a press conference held by the State Council Information Office that more efforts will be taken to attract talent across the world. Now Pudong has established a talent pool of 1.55 million people.

Over the past few years, Pudong has already pioneered a number of ways to make life and work more convenient for international talent.

In a report published today, the People's Daily noted that Pudong has led the country in ushering in a policy on an experimental basis to help with foreign talent's needs for currency exchanges and customized health insurance. Moreover, Pudong has launched ground bases for the practice of China's immigration policies.

Now, Weng said, Pudong will try to create a system to facilitate direct recommendations for foreign talent to get a right of permanent residence. Moreover, restrictions on foreign talent's access to certain professional areas will be phased out.

A senior official from the Ministry of Science and Technology said yesterday that Pudong will be endowed with more power to verify and manage the work of foreign talent on its turf.

Although these are still broad sketches, they point to Pudong's – indeed the country's – determination to open its door wider and make the land more inclusive. 

Given China's track record of following a broad map with immediate action plans in many previous cases of policymaking, it's safe to say that concrete measures concerning foreign talent's residence and work in Pudong will come out soon.

This talent policy reflects Pudong's broader vision to make itself a model of modern urban management and a magnet for residents who relish a life in harmony with nature.

On July 15, the central government announced a blueprint on building Pudong into a "pioneer of socialist modernization" with focus on several strategic fronts, such as making Pudong an example of a livable and lovable city, a hub of domestic as well as foreign businesses, a center of innovation, and an explorer of systemic opening-up.

"Systemic opening-up" is a keyword of the blueprint and a key to understanding the future of Pudong – indeed of China as well. "Systemic opening-up" is a new concept in contrast with the opening-up of a few markets or sectors. The opening-up on a systemic basis is invariably more complex, and therefore on a higher level than that on a case-by-case basis.

Attracting more foreign talent is one example of "systemic opening-up." Other examples, according to the blueprint, include efforts to make breakthroughs in cross-border circulation of data.

Pudong has already led a round of economic development in China since the 1990s. Now, if we compare Pudong to a book, then a new chapter has been turned, and the content that comes next will whet the appetite of those who expect a more open city and a more confident China.

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