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China clarifies residence rules to smooth urbanization

(Xinhua)

15:26, February 24, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- China has clarified its residence policies to facilitate domestic migrants' settling in small and medium-size cities as permanent residents, a move intended to further push the urbanization drive.

In cities of county-level or below, people who have stable jobs and residences may apply for permanent residence permits, along with their spouses, unmarried children, and parents, according to a State Council circular posted online late Thursday.

In medium-size cities, people who have stable jobs for three years, stable residences, and have paid social security insurance for at least one year, can also apply for permits to live in the city permanently, the circular said.

That means many of China's millions of migrant workers may be formally accepted as urban residents, giving them more access to public services including welfare housing and medical insurance, which are currently only open to holders of permanent residence permits in many cities.

Ushered in some 30 years ago, China's reform and opening-up drive established a pattern of labor flowing from rural to urban areas, and the country now has more than 200 million rural migrants working in cities.

Meanwhile, the circular said China will continue efforts to control the population of major cities, including those directly under jurisdiction of the central government, many of which are already over-populated based on their existing facilities and services.

Census data showed that the population of Beijing, the capital, reached more than 19 million in 2010, already exceeding 18 million, the figure Beijing has set as a goal in population scale control by 2020.

Of Beijing's 19 million population, migrants from other provinces and cities comprised seven million, more than 70 percent of whom moved to the city for work or business reasons.

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