CHINA> Regional
Shenzhen to relax rules on residency
By Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-08-06 06:57

The government in Shenzhen is considering ways to make it easier for people living in the city to apply for permanent residency in an effort to optimize its population structure, an official statement said Tuesday.

Related readings:
 Shenzhen Zen
 Shenzhen's new residence system help migrant workers

According to the latest government figures, Shenzhen has a population of about 14 million, but just one in seven are classed as permanent residents, or hukou holders.

"We are studying ways to increase the number of permanent residents to give more balance to the population structure," a statement from the city's development and reform bureau said yesterday.

The statement was issued in response to a proposal to update the household registration system by Deng Qinghui and Yang Yiping, both of whom are members of the China People's Political Consultative Conference Shenzhen Committee, the advisory body to the local government.

The government will carry out investigations and surveys, and study the feasibility of possible new policies based on the suggestions made by Deng and Yang, the statement said.

The pair had said the residency application process should take into account such things as the amount of time a person had been living in the city and whether or not he or she owned any assets there.

However, the resident permit promotion office under the Shenzhen public security bureau said people with residence permits would not automatically become permanent residents just because they had lived in the city for a long time, the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily reported yesterday.

The city introduced its residence permit scheme this month in an effort to manage its 12 million migrant workers, who had previously held temporary residence permits.

Currently, only three groups of people can apply for permanent residency in Shenzhen. These are: professionals and skilled workers; investors who pay corporation taxes totaling at least 600,000 yuan ($88,000) over three years, or the self-employed who pay taxes of 300,000 yuan over three years; and those seeking family reunification or army veterans.

Since the introduction of the residence permit system, migrant workers have been able to enjoy much the same rights as full citizens, but they are still required to return home to perform certain administrative tasks, such as registering a marriage and birth, and to sit the national college entrance examination.