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"Hukou" scoring system quickens China's pace towards urbanization

11-12-2010 16:42 BJT

GUANGZHOU, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Telephones have been ringing almost non-stop at registration service offices across Guangzhou City since last Friday when the provincial capital of south China's Guangdong began to accept applications from migrant workers hoping to become permanent residents.

The prosperous Guangdong Province is the temporary home of more than 26 million farmer-turned-migrant workers, some of whom have long hoped to change the word "temporary" to "permanent" so they can send their children to public schools without being charged extra money and qualify for public medical insurance and government welfare payments, just like the registered permanent residents- those who have a Guangdong urban "hukou", or household registration permit.

To close the gap in the urban-rural divide that has long been a sore spot for the country's sustainable development and speed up urbanization, Guangdong unveiled a scoring system in June for the millions of farmer-turned-workers hoping to settle in cities and towns.

A migrant worker will be qualified to apply for urban household registration once his or her scores accumulate to 60. At the same time, his or her minor children, or even spouses in some cities, could also become registered.

Under the system, migrant workers earn different points depending on their educational background, skill level, social security records and participation in charity activities such as donating blood. For example, a senior high school graduate will receive 20 points, compared to 80 points for a university graduate, and criminal records and other offending behaviors will lead to a deficit in points.

However, for a metropolis like Guangzhou, the threshold for new citizens is higher. A minimum of 85 points is required by the city for migrant workers to receive a Guangzhou hukou.

The provincial capital is among the first nine cities, including Shenzhen, Huizhou, Dongguan and Zhongshan, which have already mapped out their own policies on requests for the provincial government. The remaining 12 cities are still preparing, according to Li Changfeng, deputy director of the provincial Department of Human Resources and Social Security (DHRSS).

As of July, more than 17,000 migrant workers had become citizens of Guangdong through the scoring system, according to the department.

Further, Lin Wangping, another DHRSS deputy director, estimated that 1.8 million migrant workers would become urban residents in Guangdong via the scoring system by the end of 2012.


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