Deputies advise on attracting foreign talents in post-COVID era

Writer: Zhang Yu  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-02-16

Shenzhen, as a landmark in China’s reform and opening-up drive, has been a popular destination for expats to work, study and reside. Attracting and retaining foreign talents has assumed increasing importance as the city aims to become a modern international metropolis.

He Shanshan, director-general of Shenzhen Nanshan Southwind Social Work Service Center, and seven other deputies to the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress, have jointly submitted a proposal at the ongoing annual meeting of the city’s legislature on how to lure international talents in the post-COVID era.

According to the deputies, entry and exit restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have led to many expats leaving China.

Meanwhile, many Western countries and media outlets have indiscriminately smeared China’s COVID policies and told untrue China stories that could mislead some foreign talents.

Shenzhen, with the help of expat volunteers, can use domestic and international online platforms and media outlets to show the real China and Shenzhen to the world, according to the proposal.

“Shenzhen has a group of international volunteers who love the city and China. Many expats have a strong sense of identity and belonging to China and Shenzhen as a result of their participation in community governance and volunteering,” deputy He Shanshan told Shenzhen Daily yesterday.

Southwind is a leading social work organization in Nanshan District.

She has had frequent and extensive contact with the city’s expat community. 

The deputies also pointed out that foreign talents are still faced with some difficulties to work and live in Shenzhen. For example, compared to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Shenzhen has higher requirements for expats’ children to attend public schools.

The deputies advised on optimizing foreign-related policy and services for international talents. The city can provide greater convenience for foreign talents in terms of visas, work permits, legal and policy support, and community integration through international blocks and foreign-related service platforms.

“It is suggested that Shenzhen adjust and loosen some limitations for expats, such as enabling qualified expats’ children to attend public schools,” He said, adding that some expats in the city have shown great interest in sending their kids to public schools.

“The city can offer public school admissions for expats on a pilot basis in some schools where the admissions are not strained,” she said.