Beijing eases hukou residence registration for migrants

CCTV News

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The Beijing government has issued a draft regulation that allows migrant workers the ability to claim a proper registration permit by accruing points. In China, citizens live under a residence registration system called the hukou. This officially identifies a person as a resident of an area, but hundreds of millions of Chinese who work and live outside their registration area are deprived of equal access to education and other social welfare programs.

CCTV’s Hou Yun reports from Beijing.

Beijing eases hukou residence registration for migrants

Beijing eases hukou residence registration for migrants

The Beijing government has issued a draft regulation that allows migrant workers the ability to claim a proper registration permit by accruing points. In China, citizens live under a residence registration system called the hukou. This officially identifies a person as a resident of an area, but hundreds of millions of Chinese who work and live outside their registration area are deprived of equal access to education and other social welfare programs

Every Chinese citizen has a hukou which determines their access to education and other social welfare services.

Liu Yue, 29, has lived in Beijing for a decade. She graduated from one of the top universities in the city, she now works at a Top-500 company. While she has a good job and a nice apartment, she’s worried about not having the proper hukou, especially after the birth of her daughter.

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“For me and my husband, hukou is not very important as we have already finished university, get married and bought our own appartment,” Liu said. “But for my daughter, things will be totally different. Without a hukou, she would not be able to attend high school in Beijing and would face far more fierce competition in college entrance examination back in my home town. That’s what worries me most.”

The new policy in Beijing could be a game changer.

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A draft regulation released on Thursday allows people like Liu Yue to obtain a hukou in a near future, but with a high threshold.

Applicants should have a Beijing temporary residence permit, be under 45 years old, have paid social security premiums in Beijing for at least seven consecutive years, and have no violations of family-planning policies or criminal records.

Once those requirements are me, a person can accrue points based on their educational background, employment, and property, to compete for a permanent Beijing hukou. The number of points needed will vary depending on changes in the city’s population, and will be released by the government once each year.

There are millions of people like Liu in Beijing who have settled in the capital city but are shut out from social benefits and public services.

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The new policy marks a big step forward, said Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Population and Labor Economics Professor Gao Wenshu, but there is still areas that should be changed.

“I think it would be more reasonable if the age limit of 45 years old could be broadened. Secondly, the requirement for paying social security for seven consecutive years will rule out a large number of applicants, as the payment may halt due to job transfer to another city and overseas education etc. It would be more reasonable if we change it into for seven cumulative years,” Gao said.

Liu Yue said she is still willing to try for her daughter.

“I’ve spent the best one-third of my life in Beijing. This is a city which I’m more familiar with than my own home town,” she said. “And I hope my daughter is able to be raised in the city with such abundant and various culture.”