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Measures boosting workforce expertise

By Chen Xin in Shenzhen, Guangdong | China Daily | Updated: 2012-12-11 07:48

Favorable policies make it easier for foreigners to take up key posts

A raft of favorable measures, including expanding recruitment programs, are leading to more foreign experts and expertise, a senior official said at a forum on Monday.

State-owned enterprises directly under the central government have hired more than 1,600 overseas employees, said Huang Shuhe, deputy director of the State Council's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

"International experts have helped these enterprises produce many of the world's leading technologies and products with their own intellectual property rights, and that has laid a foundation that will carry the enterprises forward," he said.

A number of recruitment programs are in operation.

The Recruitment Program of Global Experts is one and through it a research and development group, involved with 15 State-owned enterprises in Beijing, hired 136 high-level experts.

China started the program in 2008, in a bid to attract 2,000 overseas professionals to key projects across a range of sectors from engineering to finance.

Another recruitment program, which started last year, aims to introduce up to 1,000 foreign professionals over 10 years to help spur innovation, promote scientific research and corporate management.

The project has just brought in 94 recruits, according to Zhang Jianguo, director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

Professionals recruited by both programs will be entitled to subsidies, research allowances, favorable salaries, residency permits, medical care and insurance policies.

Professor Robert Gilbert, 66, was one of the new recruits.

Gilbert, an Australian who studies nutrition and food science, started work in China in October. He plans to build his own laboratory at Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Wuhan University.

China's emergence as a major global economy has made many foreign professionals shift their focus from traditional talent absorbers, such as the United States, he said.

"I enjoy being in China. It's very comfortable working and living here and I will probably prolong my stay in China when my contract ends in four years," he said.

Although China has been trying hard to attract international professionals, the country is still at the preliminary stage of attracting global talent, according to Wang Huiyao, director of the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing.

Only about 600,000 foreign professionals have work permits in China, while the US annually grants more than 100,000 green cards for foreign talent and nearly 90,000 talent visas, he said.

"We should do more to get global talent, for example by introducing more favorable and convenient visa and residence policies," he said.

Wu Jiang, director of the Chinese Academy of Personnel Science, said the country should optimize its structure of recruitment.

"For example, China only has 10 percent of its foreign experts working in the economic field. It's too low," he said. "We know what kind of talent we need most only after we get a better understanding of the country's talent and industrial structure."

The government should also provide better public services and make its legal environment for talent introduction better, Wu suggested.

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