Hainan launches mass recruitment plan for pilot free trade zone

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South China’s Hainan Province has launched a recruitment program for its pilot free trade zone and free trade port with the goal of bringing 1 million talented people to settle there by 2025. The Communist Party of China Hainan Provincial Committee released details of the 2018-25 program, Beijing-based chinanews.com reported on Sunday.

Preferential policies include lowering the thresholds for local residency, or hukou household registration, supporting entrepreneurships and providing convenient real estate purchasing opportunities. People with college diplomas, or those with middle-level vocational certificates, can apply for a hukou, which confers the right to buy a local property.

Those with a master’s degree and other outstanding qualifications will be eligible to apply for a hukou at any location in Hainan. Hainan will also help with schooling for their children, employment of their spouses and urban medical insurance, according to the program.

Overseas students who graduate from universities in China  with master’s degrees or higher are also being invited to start up businesses in Hainan. Foreigners or people from Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan who apply for permanent residence or a visa will be encouraged through preferential policies to stay and work in Hainan. Universities will enroll foreign students from countries along the route of the Belt and Road initiative.

“In terms of technology, there are still some margins in certain fields between us [Chinese people] and people in other countries or regions,” Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Monday. “International talent could fill in the blanks and contribute to Hainan’s internationalization.”

But not all types of talent are  welcomed, Bai said, for example, real estate speculators or those with expertise in industries harmful to the island’s fragile environment.

The goal is for a million employees to settle in Hainan by 2025, creating a talent pool with Chinese characteristics and Hainan traits. “It is the right call for Hainan to attract more talent as it is aiming to build a free trade zone and needs talent to support the work,” said Dong Keyong, a professor at Renmin University of China’s School of Public Administration and Policy in Beijing.

Hainan is not a place where talented people would traditionally want to go, so the policy represents a solid start, Dong told the Global Times.  Hainan needed to create opportunities to make them stay in the long term, he noted.

People move for career reasons, and Hainan with its strategic location and rich resources will provide them with more opportunities, Dong said. Crowded and competitive Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen may have leaped ahead in development, he said, but also boast fewer opportunities and higher living costs.

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