Translation by Chen Yang
Zhongguo zuida chengshi Shanghai ronghua huji jian bing 中国最大城市上海融化户籍坚冰 , 20 June 2013 http://www.town.gov.cn/cszx/201306/20/t20130620_935026.shtml [Accessed 10 July 2013]
The Chinese central government work report of 2013 stated that reform of the household registration system, social management and relevant systems will be accelerated. Registration of the rural population as permanent urban residents will be conducted in an orderly manner, gradually ensuring that permanent urban residents have access to basic urban public services and offering an equitable environment for general freedom of movement and contentment in living and working.
The Shanghai government announced on June 19 that the new “Regulation on Shanghai residence permit management” would go into force on July 1, introducing the “point redemption scheme” to eligible permit holders with stable residence and employment. According to the new regulation, any floating resident who works in Shanghai and pays employee social insurance monthly will accumulate 3 points every year; accumulate 30 points when his/her profession is on the Shanghai skilled occupation demand list and he/she works in accordance with his/her respective profession; accumulate a maximum of 140 points according to his/her professional and technical title; accumulate a maximum of 110 points according to advanced education; accumulate a maximum of 20 points when the resident works and lives in a prioritised rural developing area; etc. As soon as the score reaches 120 points, residence is awarded with social insurance and education for children; for instance, children living in Shanghai with their parents can participate in Shanghai’s entrance examination for senior high school and university.
For residents who are employed in the low-end service industry, the new regulation offers them better public service, especially children’s education, so long as they have lived in Shanghai for a sufficient period of time. Most migrant workers prefer that their children be educated in Shanghai and attend local entrance examination for senior high school and university, no matter how hard they have to work to stay in Shanghai.
For residents that work as white-collars in a company, the new Regulation allows the possibility to keep their rural household account while enjoying urban public services. Previously, they would consider carefully whether they should shift their account to Shanghai or not, because they all share a bonus thanks to their hold of land in their hometown, therefore the financial loss is considerable if they shift. However, the impact on their children’s education also must be considered if they don’t shift.
Min Lu, economist at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, believes that the relaxation of the household registration policy will promote fairness, on one hand – the external floating population contributes to urban development and therefore deserves equal access to urban public services – on the other hand, it will promote economic growth and harmonious social development, attracting high-end labour to accelerate urban innovation transition and low-end labour to meet the demand of the service industry and to ease labour cost.
Chang Min Sun, researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, believes that Shanghai’s reform of household registration marks one critical step in breaking the urban-rural dualistic structure and is a significant turning point. The conventional population management system is based on household location management. However, the system will progressively move to residents location management following the further reform of residence permits.