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Shanghai home to largest foreign worker population in China

By XING YI in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-01-16 14:35
Tourists pose for photographs at the Bund, a major scenic spot on the Huangpu River, in Shanghai earlier this month. [Photo by Wang Gang/For China Daily]

Shanghai has topped the country in terms of the number of foreign workers, with its population of foreigners accounting for 23.7 percent of the national total of more than 900,000, said the municipal administration of foreign expert affairs at a symposium on Tuesday.

The symposium gathered foreign researchers, corporate executives and university professors in the city to discuss ways of further developing Shanghai into a global innovation center of science and technology.

According to the administration, as of the end of 2018, there were 215,000 foreigners living in the city with work visas, with about 18,000 of them considered to be high-level talents, the most across the country.

Ranga Vellamore, co-founder of Zeta-V Technologies Limited, suggested that the city can attract more high-calibre workers from abroad by building more professional incubators in the areas such as robotics, internet-of-things and artificial intelligence.

Having lived in the city for 12 years, Vellamore said Shanghai is already one of the most livable cities in the world, and it should aim to double its foreign population over the next four to five years.

Ourania Katavouta, a professor of Greek language at the Shanghai International Studies University, proposed that Shanghai's junior and senior high schools could introduce more foreign language courses to foster more cultural diversity in the city.

Other suggestions at the symposium include providing English information and application forms for government R&D programs and allowing foreigners to lead such programs overseas.

Shanghai has been one of the pilot cities for foreigner work permit reforms since 2016. The city has over the past few years introduced a series of measures to improve matters in this area, such as streamlining the application process and introducing new visa categories.

Shanghai has for the past six years been ranked as the most attractive city for overseas talent in China by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

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