Pos­i­tive feed­back for new tal­ent poli­cies

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -


Shang­hai’s swath of new poli­cies aimed at lur­ing over­seas tal­ent to trans­form the city into a global in­no­va­tion cen­ter for science and tech­nol­ogy have been well re­ceived by for­eign com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als.

Un­der the new rules, which in­clude the loos­en­ing of visa reg­u­la­tions and re­quire­ments for per­ma­nent res­i­dency, for­eign work­ers who have an in­vi­ta­tion or endorsement from a high-tech com­pany will no longer need to leave China be­fore they can ob­tain their work visa.

Lyu Songtao, chair­man of Shang­hai Green Val­ley Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Co. Ltd, was de­lighted with the changes, say­ing: “It is great news for our com­pany. Be­ing able to hire for­eign ex­perts will help us learn more about the ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy used in Western coun­tries as we cre­ate our own med­i­cal prod­ucts for pa­tients.”

Those not in the high-tech sec­tor stand to ben­e­fit too — for­eign­ers who have doc­u­ments to prove that a com­pany in Shang­hai has agreed to hire them can im­me­di­ately ap­ply for a one-year work per­mit upon en­ter­ing the city.

Hans von Meis­ter of the United States was one per­son who lauded the new reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing work visas.

“The ben­e­fit of not hav­ing to leave the coun­try to trans­fer your visa af­ter vis­it­ing or study­ing in China will en­cour­age more com­pa­nies to in­vest in hir­ing young tal­ent that per­haps they wouldn’t have be­fore,” said the 27-year-old, who has resided in Shang­hai for about six years.

“With the ease of trans­fer from non-work­ing to work­ing visas, I fore­see an in­crease in the num­ber of young, work­ing ex­pats in China. More lo­cal Chi­nese com­pa­nies will be en­cour­aged to hire for­eign em­ploy­ees for their ex­pan­sions into in­ter­na­tional mar­kets,” added von Meis­ter, who is the COO at Learn­ingLead­ers, a Shang­hai-based academy that fo­cuses on de­vel­op­ing de­bat­ing and public speak­ing skills.

The new mea­sures will also have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the tal­ent pool at the China (Shang­hai) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) as there are now fewer em­ploy­ment re­stric­tions — in­ter­na­tional stu­dents who have ob­tained their master’s de­grees in lo­cal univer­si­ties are now el­i­gi­ble to get their work per­mits di­rectly if they man­age to find jobs in the FTZ.

Ac­cord­ing to the Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion, there were more than 53,800 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents study­ing in Shang­hai in 2013, a 30 per­cent in­crease from 2010.

“The pol­icy will en­cour­age em­ploy­ers to fill the po­si­tions with bet­ter fit­ted tal­ents, but it won’t be­come the main at­trac­tion for over­seas job ap­pli­cants, who eye the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties here in­stead,” said Pete Chia, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of BRe­cruit China, a lead­ing re­cruit­ment ser­vice provider in Asia.

“These in­ter­na­tional stu­dents should pro­vide added value to the Chi­nese job mar­ket. In other words, they should be armed with skill sets that can’t be found among the lo­cal tal­ent,” said Chia.

But apart from at­tract­ing tal­ent, the Shang­hai gov­ern­ment also has an eye on re­tain­ing the best minds that cur­rently re­side in the city. High-level tal­ents who have per­ma­nent jobs in Shang­hai will be given pri­or­ity when ap­ply­ing for a for­eign ex­pert per­mit that valid for two to five years.

The ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures have also been sim­pli­fied and these tal­ents can even ap­ply for per­ma­nent res­i­dency af­ter work­ing for three years, with rec­om­men­da­tions from their com­pa­nies. The res­i­dency du­ra­tion has also been ex­tended from five to 10 years.

Al­ter­na­tively, for­eign­ers who have worked in Shang­hai for four con­sec­u­tive years, draw­ing an an­nual in­come of 600,000 yuan ($96,700) and pay­ing 120,000 yuan in in­di­vid­ual in­come tax per year, can now ap­ply for a China green card if they have resided in the city for more than six months in each of those years. Be­fore the new reg­u­la­tions took ef­fect, for­eign­ers were iden­ti­fied by their job ti­tles and only those who

is were se­nior ex­ec­u­tives in their re­spec­tive in­dus­tries were el­i­gi­ble for per­ma­nent res­i­dency.

“These ben­e­fi­cial poli­cies will en­able us to at­tract younger tal­ents who have in­no­va­tive ideas as well as ex­pe­ri­enced se­nior pro­fes­sion­als from over­seas,” said Jan Anne Schelling, the vice pres­i­dent of hu­man re­sources at DSM China, a Dutch ma­te­rial science com­pany.

Schelling, who has lived in Shang­hai for eight years, also noted that there is an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple who are en­ter­ing the city to look for jobs on their own ac­cord, com­pared with the past when most for­eign­ers were posted here by their com­pa­nies. Their ex­pec­ta­tions have changed too, as Schelling said: “They used to put salary as the top pri­or­ity but the job ap­pli­cants to­day are fo­cus­ing more on what they can learn from the job. They’re look­ing for more po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Other ob­jec­tives of the new reg­u­la­tions in­clude the fos­ter­ing of entrepreneurship among the tal­ents here in Shang­hai. The lo­cal gov­ern­ment wants to en­cour­age more young for­eign grad­u­ates to start their own busi­nesses, and have paved the way for this to hap­pen by al­low­ing those with a bach­e­lor de­gree from over­seas in­sti­tu­tions to ap­ply for a two-year res­i­dence per­mit if they are start­ing their busi­nesses in the FTZ.

For­eign­ers who are plan­ning to make in­vest­ments or launch com­pa­nies in Shang­hai can also ap­ply for a pri­vate busi­ness visa — sup­ported by the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments such as a busi­ness pro­posal and the ap­proval of the in­vest­ment — be­fore they ar­rive. This group of in­di­vid­u­als can then ap­ply for a pri­vate busi­ness per­mit upon ar­rival in Shang­hai.

“It is not that dif­fi­cult to start a com­pany here as the city is full of op­por­tu­ni­ties and re­sources to en­cour­age start- ups to ex­pand busi­nesses at a rapid speed,” said 26-year-old Tommy Hen­driks, a Dutch na­tional who grad­u­ated from Fu­dan Univer­sity last year and is now the CEO of The Man­sion, a hub for mu­si­cians, artists and cre­ative peo­ple alike.

Hen­driks, whose job in­volves bring­ing for­eign mu­sic fes­ti­vals to China, hold­ing DJ lessons for be­gin­ners and tak­ing charge of the mu­sic stage at the Midi Fes­ti­val ev­ery year, adds that he is con­fi­dent that the new poli­cies will lead to a growth of en­trepreneurs like him­self.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhou Haiyang, di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Hu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity Bureau, a more de­tailed list of rules and guide­lines will be re­leased through­out the year.

“Shang­hai will be the pi­o­neer in achiev­ing a break­through in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of even more open and ef­fec­tive poli­cies in our bid to re­cruit more tal­ents from abroad and of­fer them a con­ve­nient life here,” Zhou said.

Alas­dair Jelfs, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Merck Chem­i­cals China, echoed this sen­ti­ment, say­ing that this cur­rent model of tal­ent at­trac­tion should be copied in other Chi­nese cities.

“We’ve just re­cruited a for­eign PhD grad­u­ate di­rectly from Shang­hai Univer­sity, thanks to the loos­en­ing of the em­ploy­ment poli­cies for in­ter­na­tional grad­u­ates,” said Jelfs.

“I think any change in the reg­u­la­tions, which makes the ad­min­is­tra­tive process of hir­ing ex­pats more con­ve­nient, is def­i­nitely an ad­van­tage.”

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