The Chinese government is developing a national registry of foreign workers in an effort to make it easier for Chinese companies to find foreign talent.
Zhang Jianguo, director of the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, announced the plan at the Conference on International Exchange of Professionals, held this past weekend in Shenzhen.
The expat worker database will include information on legally-employed foreign workers, including their nationality, area of expertise, current employer, and city of residence.
Zhang said the Chinese government needs to do more to attract foreign talent. “In the past, overseas talent introduction was led by government policies and talent projects. But these cannot react to dramatic market changes,” said Zhang. “The market should lead overseas talent recruitment, and the government should create a friendly environment for overseas talent such as a simplified visa application process.”
According to the China Daily, between 2011 and 2015, three million foreign experts came to China, a 30 percent increase over a five-year period between 2006 and 2010.
However, statistics from last year show a two percent drop in the number of foreigners applying for permanent residence in Shanghai. Furthermore, a number of multinational companies including Citizen, Microsoft, Panasonic, Daikin, Sharp, and TDK announced plans to reduce their presence in the country.
This isn’t the first time China has introduced a registry for foreigners. Last July, Guangzhou announced plans to create an electronic registry of all foreigners in an effort to crackdown on those living illegally.