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Wang Huiyao: The Base for Choosing Talents Grows from 1.3 billion to 7 billion

Source: People’s Daily Date: 2017-02-09

Three ministries recently issued the Notice on Allowing Foreign College Graduates to Work in China (hereinafter referred to as the Notice), which permits qualified foreign college graduates to get employed in China without having any prior work experience. This is another step that China has taken to build an internationally competitive talent system to bring together talents from across the world. It is an important stride in China’s strategy to win the global competition for talents.

With growing economic strength in the past years, China has become a choice destination for talents from across the world. Foreign professionals have been flowing into China. China now has a talent base of 7 billion rather than 1.3 billion to choose from. As pointed out in the 2014 Development Report on Overseas Chinese Students made by the Center for China and Globalization, if international students cannot work or start businesses in China after graduation, it will, to some extent, push away foreign talents with innovative and entrepreneurial potential. It is suggested that restrictions should be relaxed for outstanding foreign students to work and start businesses in China in line with the trend of worldwide movement of talents. China could also issue internship and work visa and allow foreign talents that China badly needs or those who have lived and worked in China for a certain period of time with outstanding achievements to stay in China.

The general offices of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have issued the Notice on Improving the Management of Foreigners Who have Permanent Residence in China. The Ministry of Public Security adopted exit-entry measures in support of the innovative development in Beijing and other cities. The Notice issued by the three ministries makes specific arrangements for the qualifications, procedures, periods of validity and quotas for foreign college graduates to work in China. The further relaxes restrictions and more specific and practical policies will benefit employers, higher education institutions, foreign students currently in China and those who aspire to work in China.

The Notice will speed up the establishment of a market-based system for evaluating and attracting foreign talents. It focuses more on the capabilities of the talents and their contribution to the employers. It goes beyond the previous government-led system for attracting overseas talents. Employers are now given more autonomy to choose talents that meet their real, diverse needs through a market-based approach. It will be easier for businesses to recruit young talents world and thus increase their international competitiveness.

It is important to lay equal emphasis on Chinese students studying overseas and international students studying in China. As we have found through research, one prominent obstacle for international students in China is that they could not do internships and work in China. Without convenient channels for work, stay and personal development, foreign students have lower expectations for studying in China. The Notice marks a big step forward, as it relaxes the restrictions for international students to work in China, gives hope to those who want to study in China and thus kindles their interest in coming to China. This will reduce the gap between inbound and outbound students and promote the internationalization of China’s higher education and improve the system for international students studying in China.

Talents and innovation are the driving forces for economic globalization. The lack of international talents with cross-cultural capabilities is one of the hindrances for Chinese companies to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and compete globally. By attracting international students studying in China and those graduating from overseas universities to work and start businesses in China, we will be able to cultivate and keep international talents who know and understand China’s cultures and conditions, and promote the flow of talents across the world. It will also send out a more positive signal as China welcomes global talents to pursue personal development in a more open China and works to realize the Chinese dream.

Going forward, it is important to build a complete chain of studying, internship, work and permanent residence for international students in China and increase China’s appeal to students across the world. We also need to present a clear picture of the Chinese dream to global talents and be more open in identifying talents, so as to inject new impetus to China’s innovation-driven development.

(The author is Vice Chairman of the Western Returned Scholars Association and Counsellor of the State Council.)