Posts tagged ‘migrant worker’

21/12/2015

Shifting barriers | The Economist

THE pillars of social control are flaking at the edges.

First came the relaxation in October of draconian family-planning restrictions. Now it is the turn of the household-registration, or hukou, system, which determines whether a person may enjoy subsidised public services in urban areas—rural hukou holders are excluded. On December 12th the government announced what state media trumpeted as the biggest shake-up in decades of the hukou policy, which has aggravated a huge social divide in China’s cities and curbed the free flow of labour.

The pernicious impact of the system, however, will long persist. As with the adjustment to the decades-old family-planning policy (now all couples will be allowed to have two children), the latest changes to the hukou system follow years of half-hearted tinkering. They will allow migrant workers to apply for special residency permits which provide some of the benefits of an urban hukou (a booklet proving household registration is pictured above).

If an urban hukou is like an internal passport, the residency permit is like a green card. Under the arrangements, migrants will be able to apply for a permit if they have lived in a city for six months, and can show either an employment contract or a tenancy agreement. The document will allow access to state health care where the migrants live, and permit their children to go to local state schools up to the age of 15. It will also make other bureaucratic things easier, like buying a car. Such reforms have already been tried in some cities. They will now be rolled out nationwide.

For those who meet the requirements, the changes will bring two main benefits. They should allow some of the 70m children who have been left behind to attend school in their native villages to join their migrant parents. And it will allow migrants to use urban services without losing the main benefit of their rural hukou: the right to farm a plot of land. According to a survey in 2010 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 90% of migrants did not want to change their registration status because they feared losing this right.

Source: Shifting barriers | The Economist

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12/07/2015

13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Faced with a persistent influx of rural workers, China’s most populous province plans to allow more migrant residents to settle permanently in its cities, in its latest effort to ease decades-old curbs on rural-urban migration.

Under new guidelines published this week, Guangdong authorities aim to grant local household registration to roughly 13 million migrant workers by 2020, allowing them to access public services—spanning housing, health-care, social security and education—that are typically reserved for urban residents.

Guangdong has often taken the lead in efforts to liberalize the hukou system, a national household-registration regime that curbs rural-urban migration by tying benefits like health care and pensions to a person’s place of birth. Experts say the system forces many rural migrants to live as second-class citizens in urban areas, aggravating social inequality while fueling tensions between locals and outsiders.

Hukou reforms are a pressing matter for Guangdong, a southern Chinese manufacturing hub that hosts the country’s largest transient population. Among its roughly 110 million residents, more than 24 million are migrants from other regions, while another 10.6 million have relocated within the province.

“Reforming the household-registration system will speed up our province’s urbanization process, and facilitate the coordinated development of the Pearl River Delta region,” Peng Hui, deputy director-general of Guangdong’s public security department, told a news briefing this week.

As part of the reforms, provincial officials will aim to “equalize” the provision of public services and ensure “balanced” economic development between rural and urban areas, according to the new guidelines.

China has used the hukou system since the 1950s to keep people from moving to the cities and forming the sort of slums that plague other developing nations. In recent decades, however, rural migrants have increasingly bucked the system to seek better opportunities in urban areas, without approval to live there.

Beijing, for its part, has since changed tack and pushed to urbanize its population of nearly 1.4 billion people, of which about 45% still in live in rural areas. But experts say the government must speed up its dismantling of the hukou system, warning that social tensions could fester and even boil over in the coming decade as China’s “floating population” of more than 250 million continues to expand.

Last year, Beijing pledged some changes to the hukou system, with restrictions to be lifted first in small towns. More stringent requirements will remain on those who want to live in larger cities, which are generally more attractive to migrants.

 

Guangdong’s plan follows a similar approach. Provincial officials say they plan to “fully liberalize” settlement rules in small, county-level cities and so-called “administratively designated towns,” where migrants with legal and stable places of residence will be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

via 13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

26/01/2015

1.39 million Chinese receive legal assistance – Xinhua | English.news.cn

The Chinese government provided free legal aid services for nearly 1.39 million people in 2014 to help them safeguard their rights, the Economic Daily reported on Monday.

More than one-third of them are migrant workers who are vulnerable to job dismissal and withheld wages and know little about the legal system, the report said, quoting the Ministry of Justice.

The ministry’s statistics showed that about 10 percent more migrant workers than last year said they would like to seek legal assistance if their rights are violated.

Legal service centers have been springing up in streets, communities and prisons across China. The number of new legal service centers in 2014 totaled 70,000, the ministry said. The country will guide more legal service agencies to provide assistance to suspects and defendants in prisons.

It also promised to lower the eligibility standard for people to receive legal assistance and expand services for military personnel.

via 1.39 million Chinese receive legal assistance – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

19/11/2014

China’s Aging Migrant Workers – Businessweek

China’s migrant worker population is getting bigger and older and includes more families living together, a government report released today shows.

A Chinese migrant worker labors at the construction site of a real estate project in Jiujiang city, east Chinas Jiangxi province on March 3, 2014.

With 245 million migrant workers as of the end of 2013, China’s liudong renkou, or floating population, now amounts to one-sixth of all Chinese. That’s up from 236 million  a year earlier, says the study, released on Nov. 18 by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

With China’s entire population aging, it’s no surprise that its migrants are getting older, too. The report says that the average age of migrant workers has gone from 33.1 years old in 2011 to 33.7 at the end of last year. And they are more likely to move with their families: The number of migrant worker parents bringing their children with them (6- to 15-year-olds) has risen to 62.5 percent, up 5.2 percentage points from 2011.

That’s good news. China has 61 million “left-behind children”, the offspring of migrant workers who are separated from their parents and still living in the countryside, according to some estimates. They make up more than one in five of all youth in China and often suffer from psychological problems, including juvenile delinquency, and are prone to high rates of dropping out of school.

The jump in children accompanying their worker parents may suggest that life for migrant families may be slowly starting to improve. China’s leaders have made urbanization a top goal and aim to lift the proportion of people living in cities from just over 53.7 percent now to 60 percent by 2020.

To encourage that, China’s economic planners announced last November that they will start to allow migrants to get more access to urban benefits including pensions, health care, and crucially education for their children. Progress on the complicated and expensive reforms, however, has been limited.

via China’s Aging Migrant Workers – Businessweek.

29/10/2014

China’s Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Looks – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, has said repeatedly how happy he is with the strength of the country’s job market, despite a slowing economy. That’s the main reason he sees little need to ease policy aggressively to spur growth, he says.

Officials attribute low unemployment to a drop in the working-age population, along with the development of the service sector, which is more labor-intensive than manufacturing.

But a deeper look into the government’s jobs data shows that the current employment situation is more worrisome than it appears. Across China’s cities, 10.82 million new jobs were created over the first nine months of the year, up 1.5% from the same period of 2013, according to official data released on Friday. That’s slowest rise in five years.

Migrant workers are normally the first to take the brunt of an economic slowdown, since more than one fifth of them work in the construction sector, which is highly sensitive to economic cycles. Employers also tend fire migrant workers first if business is bad rather than laying off urbanites with permanent resident status, economists have said.

“Over the past few years, especially after 2009, the government stepped up investment in infrastructure and property market. That has created many job opportunities for migrant workers,” said Li Shi, an economics professor at Beijing Normal University. “But now a sluggish property market has affected migrant workers.”

The global financial crisis cut China’s economic growth from double-digit rates to 6.6% in early 2009, and left some 200 million migrant laborers facing unemployment and a fraying safety net.

The government responded with a four trillion yuan ($650 billion) stimulus package that helped China rebound rapidly from the global downturn, but also resulted in a series of problems such as industrial overcapacity and environmental pollution.

This time around the economic situation is less dire, and the reaction has been more restrained. Since economic growth started to falter earlier this year, policy makers have contented themselves with a series of targeted easing measures like accelerated spending on infrastructure and special lending programs from the central bank. They have also brought in measures to spur mortgage lending and reduce financing costs and tax burdens for small firms.

via China’s Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Looks – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

11/09/2014

The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek

On July 30, China’s State Council announced plans to abolish the old residence registration permit—or hukou—that distinguished rural from urban households. The move was long overdue.

Young Chinese children attend a kindergarten set up for migrant workers in Beijing

The hukou system was enacted in 1958 as away to limit movement between the countryside and cities. At that time, the Chinese Communist Party was explicitly anti-urban and antibusiness. After economic reform began in 1978, the hukou became increasingly anachronistic as millions of migrant workers left farms and villages for new jobs in factories and private companies in the cities. Yet they were penalized because, without local household registration papers, these migrants were denied access to public health care, education, and other social services.

The new system, however, will be only a partial fix. Discrepancies between rural and urban tax collection will gradually be phased out, but access to services will still be linked to location. While smaller cities may be willing to accept newly registered residents, the governments of China’s leading metropolises—including Beijing and Shanghai—are overburdened and still actively trying to discourage new residents (other than wealthy arrivals) from putting down roots.

via The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek.

24/05/2014

China’s 430 Million Families Shrink and Age – Businessweek

China’s families keep shrinking in size, says a new report by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, released earlier this month.

Retired Chinese women practice Tai Chi at a park in Haikou city, south China Hainan province on March 25

It’s well known that the One-Child Policy played a key role in radically reducing the size of China’s households, which have shrunk from an average of 5.3 members in the 1950s to just 3.02 in 2012. (The numbers were 3.96 and 3.10 in 1990 and 2010, respectively.)

But that longtime policy restriction has not been the main driver in recent years, according to the China Family Development Report 2014. Instead, internal migration and changing social norms have been bigger contributors to the phenomenon in recent years. (That also means last year’s loosening of the family planning regulation isn’t going to reverse the smaller household phenomenon.)

By 2010, China had 160 million households made up of either one or two people. That’s 40 percent of the total number of households, a proportion that rose from 25 percent of the total in 2000. Over the same decade, the number of single person households doubled, and those of two people went up by 68 percent, according to the commission.

So what’s driving the surge in little families? In the cities it has a lot to do with young people waiting longer to get married. “A growing number of well-educated people now decide to marry at a later age because of their careers,” the China Daily reported, citing the survey. “Changing attitudes toward marriage also prompted many to stay single.”

As China’s population rapidly ages, more and more families are elderly. China now has 88 million families made up of people over 65, about one-fifth of the total, the report says. That reverses the longtime Chinese custom of older parents living with their children. With some 300 million rural migrant workers living far from their hometowns, the problem is particularly acute in the countryside—that is contributing to a growing problem of poverty among the elderly.

via China’s 430 Million Families Shrink and Age – Businessweek.

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14/05/2014

China’s Young Migrant Workers Earn More, Send Less Home – Businessweek

China’s younger migrant workers are better educated, spend more, save less, and prefer living in China’s bigger cities. They make up close to one-half of the migrant workforce, according to a survey released Monday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

A migrant worker in Beijing

Those from the younger generation, born after 1980—or balinghou (literally, “80 after”)—number 125 million, or 46.6 percent of China’s 269 million migrant workers. One-third have a high school education or higher; that’s 19.2 percentage points more than the older generation, the survey shows.

Unlike their parents, they aren’t inclined to scrimp devotedly in order to send  hard-earned kuai back to the countryside. The average younger migrant worker remitted 12,802 yuan ($2,054) to a hometown in rural China; that’s about 30 percent less than older workers did.

via China’s Young Migrant Workers Earn More, Send Less Home – Businessweek.

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17/03/2014

China pushes forward urbanizing migrant workers – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China pledged increasing efforts to help migrant workers win urbanite status, removing restrictions in towns and lowering threshold in big cities, said a national plan unveiled on Sunday.

The country promised to help migrant workers from countryside to settle down in cities, by fully eliminating restriction of household registration in towns and small cities and gradually easing restrictions in medium-sized cities, according to the 2014-2020 urbanization plan released by the State Council, China’s Cabinet.

Reasonable conditions for settling in big cities will be set, while population in mega cities will remain to be strictly controlled, the plan said.

The plan also granted city services and public welfare to the migrants.

In China, cities with population between three million and five million are defined as big cities, while those above five million are mega cities.

via China pushes forward urbanizing migrant workers – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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23/02/2014

China’s Migrant Workers Lack High-End Skills – Businessweek

China is already facing the challenge of a shrinking labor force. Its working age population—16 to 59—declined by more than 2 million people, to about 920 million last year, compared with 2012. And while the total number of migrant workers is still increasing slowly, up 2.4 percent, to 269 million, last year, many lack needed skills. That’s despite the fact that wages keep rising, up about 14 percent, to around 2,600 yuan ($427) a month last year.

China's Migrant Workers Lack High-End Skills

“It is difficult to hire general workers, which reflects the limited supply of migrant workers. Despite China upgrading and restructuring its industrial base, there are difficulties in recruiting enough skilled technicians to work in these fields,” said Yang Zhiming, deputy minister of Human Resources and Social Security, at a press conference Thursday in Beijing, reported the Global Times.

China is aiming to shift its economy to higher-value-added industries and lessen its reliance on low-end, low-skill manufacturing of shoes, clothes, and toys, a process officials have dubbed tenglong huanniao, or “clearing the cage and changing the bird.” To meet the skills gap, the government will offer more training programs and educate at least 10 million migrants a year. Beijing intends to provide training by 2020 for the entire “new generation” of migrant workers, or those born after the 1980s, which now number about 100 million, according to Yang.

via China’s Migrant Workers Lack High-End Skills – Businessweek.

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