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Foreign workers flocking to Shanghai
By Zou Huilin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-13 22:34

Foreign professionals have found Shanghai to be an excellent place to work in, with the number of foreign professionals expected to grow at a rate of over 20 per cent in the coming three years, local labour officials said.

The latest statistics from the Shanghai Labour and Social Security Bureau (SLSS) showed that there are over 28,000 foreigners now working in the city.

Moreover, for the first quarter of 2004 alone, about 3,000 foreigners got their working permits from the bureau, an increase of over 25 per cent compared with the number of the same period last year.

Sun Hande, director of the Shanghai Foreigner Employment Office under the SLSS, pointed out that such an increase suggests Shanghai is becoming more friendly for foreign workers as it is in great need of high-quality professionals with global perspectives.

He added, "meanwhile, the municipality is working hard to offer more assistance and service to these foreign professionals working here."

According to the SLSS, foreigners can apply for their working permits both online in the conventional way. Shanghai currently is the only city in China that allows foreigners to apply for their working permits online.

As long as foreigners visit the foreigner employment channel of the SLSS website (www.12333.gov.cn) and turn in their qualifications, resumes and their employers' information and business licences, they can put forward their requests for working permits to the officials of SLSS online.

If a foreigner presents all the materials required in the application process, he can get the working permit from the Shanghai Foreigner Employment Office after five working days.

Sun added that the application procedure has been largely simplified compared with that in the past, and foreigners need to go to the office only once to fetch their permits rather than the previous numerous times, saying "this saves foreigners a lot of time and energy."

By the end of March, over 50 per cent of the foreign employees in Shanghai dealt with their working permit problems online, such as prolonging their stay, changing the permits, having annual inspections or reporting losses of permits.

Officials also believe the influx of skilled foreign professionals will further boost the development of the city.

SLSS statistics indicate these foreign employees are indeed of the highest quality, not only in terms of professionalism but also bringing significant work experience from world-leading companies.

Among all the foreign employees in Shanghai, 3,600 are general managers of companies and over 60 per cent of the total 28,000 are working as senior executives.

Foreign employees from Japan are the most numerous, followed by US workers, Singaporeans, Malaysians and Germans.

Officials have also concluded that the numbers of skilled professionals from India are growing at the highest speed and they mainly work in the software industry, which is stimulant for the local software sector.

Sun added that the city is still looking for foreign skilled professionals, especially in the services sector, and he predicted there will be more such workers coming to Shanghai in the near future.

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