08/12/2016, 12.11
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Beijing introduces new, severe residency rules for immigrants

National system requires a certificate (hukou) to have access to basic municipal services such as health and education. But the authorities want to control the urban population, and if possible to decrease it. From today, residency will require seven years of contributions - without any access to benefits - in order to submit an application.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Seven years of paid contributions, but without getting any basic services in return, prior to submitting for residency in Beijing. This is under new rules issued today by the city authorities to grant the certificate of residence (hukou) to those who were not born in the capital. The new rules also include a point system that actually prevent economic migrants from being able to get the coveted document.

The hukou was introduced in 1958 to curb urban sprawl and keep farmers working the land. After the modernization of Deng Xiaoping, the growing industrial cities needed manpower and drew migrants from the countryside. But not having the residence in the cities, they were exploited as a labor force, without any of the benefist of residence, such as health care, education for their children, justice.

From today a Chinese citizen living in Beijing without papers must have a legal labor contract and pay into the city coffers for social security, those for health care and the pension for seven consecutive years before being "qualified to apply".

They must have a registered home, a contract, be far below the retirement age and have no criminal record. All of these provisions count for points for the applicant, which must be added those arising from income and level of education. In concrete terms it means the migrants have no chance.

Every year, the local government will set a minimum level of points, only accepting those above. Guangyao Shen, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the South China Morning Post: "I do not think that many will exceed the level, perhaps 10 thousand people. From the point of view of a citizen, and these controlled scores are unreasonable, but considering that we are speaking of the megalopolis, we know that they are facing very complicated challenges. They have no alternative".

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