Graduates from two top universities in Beijing will be granted fast-track Shanghai household registration authorization if they choose to work in the financial hub, according to a new policy issued by the city's education commission.
Under a pilot program, those with bachelor's degrees from Peking University or Tsinghua University who have been offered jobs in Shanghai will be granted preferential treatment in their applications for Shanghai household registration permits, or hukou, which afford holders a full range of benefits including pensions, healthcare and child education stipends as well as auto and apartment purchasing quotas.
The policy comes at a time when a long list of Chinese cities — including Beijing, Tianjin and Shenzhen — have offered to provide various incentives to attract talent, including hukou privileges.
"Shanghai's new policy ... significantly cuts the time required to obtain a Shanghai hukou under a points-based system," said Lu Yujie, managing consultant of human resources company Cornerstone Global Partners.
First-tier cities like Shanghai and Beijing are feeling the pressure as second- and third-tier ones are attracting top graduates with preferential policies, but Shanghai, over the long term, needs to address its high living costs and property prices if it wants to attract and retain more talent, Lu said.
With a population of nearly 25 million, Shanghai first started using a points-based hukou system for nonlocal graduates in 2004, with preference given to those with higher degrees and grade-point averages, as well as graduates with specialized skills in technology and other areas.
With the updated policy, graduates from Peking and Tsinghua universities are exempted from the tedious points-generating process for hukou registrations, and only need to meet "basic requirements" if they are offered full-time jobs in Shanghai.
Some students in Beijing from the two institutions said the policy is still not enough to attract them to work in Shanghai.
Xu Haozhe, a postgraduate student at Peking University's law school, said, "All my friends and potential business partners are in Beijing, and I have to make new friends if I go to Shanghai."
Huang Yunwen, a junior student majoring in computer science at Peking University, said in the IT sector, Beijing offers more opportunities and choices. "But that does not mean Shanghai is losing its appeal. I saw schoolmates talking on social media about landing jobs in Shanghai."