China to remove and ease residency restriction in some cities
Apr 09, 2019 (China Knowledge) - China’s state planner the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has asked for some second and third tier cities to lift household registration restrictions for those who live and work in these cities with plans to eliminate all restrictions for household registration in cities with populations of between 1 million to 3 million.
In addition, cities with a population of 3 million to 5 million should also ease restrictions for farmers-turned-workers who have lived there for more than 5 years. This also applies to technicians, college and vocational school graduates as well as those with foreign degrees.
China’s household registration system or “hukou” system dictates that people can only receive government and social welfare benefits such as public schools for their children, health care and retirement pension schemes when they live in cities or areas of their official residence.
This worked in China’s planned economy era. However, after the country’s opening up in 1979, more people started to leave their places of official residence to larger cities in search of better jobs. These migrants incur additional costs in terms of education and other social services as they do not have access to these services in the city they migrated to and are also often barred from purchasing properties in their cities of residence.
As a result, many of these migrants would leave their families behind so that their children and families would be able to continue enjoying access to state-supported education and healthcare.
These migrants whose current residence do not match their hukou make up for about 18% of China’s total population and it was found that only less than 4% of these migrants are able to obtain hukous in their new city of residence, resulting in a need for reform of the hukou system.
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