Door open for skilled migrant workers
Guangdong, facing a dire economic outlook, says it will give about 880,000 skilled migrant workers urban household registration after a year marked by migrant unrest.
Acting governor Zhu Xiaodan said in his maiden government work report to the Guangdong People's Congress yesterday that the growth target for the province's economic output this year was 8.5 per cent, down from 10 per cent. The inflation target was 'around 4 per cent'. Zhu said Guangdong was facing a series of problems. A slowing economy, overcapacity in traditional industries, uncertainties in the development of new industries and price pressures would be among the major challenges to the building of a 'happy Guangdong' this year.
The government would offer 883,000 migrant workers who had qualified as senior technicians urban household status. He said the government believed public services could cope with the extra numbers.
Provincial Communist Party secretary Wang Yang endorsed the initiative.
Speaking at a group discussion with congress members after Zhu presented his report, Wang mentioned last year's migrant unrest, including rioting in Zengcheng, as one of the policy considerations behind offering Guangdong residency to skilled migrant workers.
'The policy can lead to stability as it steers the migrant workers to study skills in the hope of integrating into society,' Wang said.
'It will solve the problem of migrant workers coming to Guangdong as a result of economic growth and open the road for migrant workers to integrate into the cities where they work.
'It will give the dream of settling down in the cities to all the 30 million migrant workers in Guangdong, make them behave properly and have a Guangdong dream.'
Wang also said that offering migrant workers urban residency rights would help the province compete with the Yangtze River Delta.
He said it could break the bottleneck that was inhibiting the upgrading of industry in the Pearl River Delta because improving the quality of the workforce was the key to increasing competitiveness.
'We are cultivating skilled blue-collar workers to make the manufacturing industry and clothing industry more competitive,' he said.
Among other preferential policies, the province will provide 400,000 more migrant workers with workplace injury insurance and sponsor 10,000 to study in colleges and universities.
The policies are among 10 livelihood initiatives outlined by Zhu, which include cancelling the public security fees collected from the floating population.
Zhu also stressed the importance of closer co-operation between Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in order to boost trade.
Guangdong's foreign trade is tipped to grow just this much this year, down from 16.4 per cent last year.