CHINA / National

China becomes major education, employment destination
Updated: 2006-06-12 08:55

Figures released by the Chinese government departments have shown China is becoming one of the world's most popular education and employment destinations.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Education showed that in 2005, 141,000 overseas students came to China to study, up 27.28 percent from the previous year, with 86,679 studying Mandarin (Putonghua).

"The year 2005 saw China attracting the largest number of overseas students since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, thanks to the country's stable political environment, rapid economic growth and growing international influence," said Zhang Xiuqin, secretary-general of the China Scholarship Council.

Hong Changwoo, a student of Beijing Language and Culture University from the Republic of Korea (ROK), told Xinhua that a large number of young people in the ROK are keen on studying Mandarin, as more and more companies in the ROK require their employees to speak Chinese.

Zhang said the residential environment, education quality and medical and social insurance provided by Chinese higher learning institutes for overseas students all reached international standards. Meanwhile, China's tuition fees for overseas students are much lower than those in most other countries.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education showed that from 1950 to 2005, China received a total of 884,315 overseas students.

But Zhang acknowledged that problems still exist. The Chinese government has approved in principle overseas students applying for part-time jobs in China but there are no regulations on how many hours an overseas student can work a day and what kinds of vocations or industries are open for overseas students to work in.

Meanwhile, statistics from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security showed that by the end of 2005, more than 150,000 overseas employees had registered to work in China. 70 percent of them worked in foreign-invested companies and they are mostly from Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United States and European countries.

"The Chinese government encourages foreigners with special technological, managerial skills that China is currently short of to work in China," said Wang Yadong, deputy director of the Employment Training Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

According to the ministry, a majority of the foreigners work in hi-tech, communication, and financing industries. There are more than 500 multinational companies in Shanghai, with more than 40,000 foreign talents.

Kritian Kender, a business partner of a media research company in China who has been working here for more than ten years said there were no interesting jobs back in the United States when he graduated.

"It's not very difficult for foreigners to find jobs in China," he said, noting that to have an interesting job is more difficult and even more difficult to start business because the procedure is quite time consuming and complicated.

China issued a "green card" policy in 2004 for foreigner to have long-term residence and work. By the end of September last year, 649 foreigners from 33 countries including the United States, Canada, Singapore, Japan and Australia had been granted permanent residence in China.