Beijing to cap permanent resident permits for fresh college graduates
Beijing is to put a cap on the number of permanent residence permits, or hukou, being granted to fresh graduates, arousing concerns that the capital city may be deprived of mid-level talent, reported Caixin.  
Recent years have seen no more than 10,000 college graduates gain Beijing hukou annually. After the ‘cap’ is applied in 2017, it is expected the 10,000 quota would be gradually slashed. 
Gui Sheng, vice-director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security, revealed the news at a recent work conference, according to the Beijing News. Gui indicated the capital city would put a cap on the quota of elite college graduates to be granted hukou, in bid to align with the latest urban planning. 
In March 2017, the Beijing municipal government released the Beijing Urban Comprehensive Plan for 2016-2030, citing limited resources and environmental impact as reasons to formally limit the urban population to 23 million.
Beijing has put a focus on phasing out non-capital functions recent years, in which context, the quota of college graduates being granted a hukou has been reduced. The quota was no more than 9,000 for the year 2015, according to Zhang Zude, the then vice-director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security, said in September, 2015, noting the quota for 2016 would further decrease.  
With policy tightening, the surveys on the employment rate of graduates from Tsinghua University and Peking University by local companies had all dropped below 50 percent in 2016.  
The quota for 2017 is not yet decided. A state-backed media company’s human resources manager told Caixin the effects of the ‘cap’ could hardly be predicted as there is no noticeable change in this year’s quota.  
The ‘cap’ policy intends to fulfill two goals - one is to limit the population within 23 million by 2020, and the second is to reduce the current population by 15 percent in the six main districts of the capital city by 2020, said Wang Yukai, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, in an interview with Caixin.   
“It’s not that Beijing doesn’t need talent, but with the cap, the city would hardly target graduates of certain majors,” Wang Yukai explained. 
The trend started in 2015 when the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security cut the number of hukou for college graduates by 17 percent from the previous year. 
“Although the ‘cap’ sounds like a new proposal, it is not that different from previous restrictions on hukou,” said Sun Wenkai, a researcher with the National Institute of Development and Strategy at the Renmin University of China, “In order to accomplish the 2020 goal, (the government) would put a cap on the total number, and assign a quota. If one year’s quota is used, then you have to wait for the next year.” 
According to Sun, the policy aims to restrict the number of residence permits assigned to state-owned, government, and public institutions, in bid to control the urban population. 
“The measure will have a limited effect, considering many private businesses could still hire people without granting hukou,” said Sun, noting there is no obvious indication that could link tightening hukou quota with population control.”  
Meanwhile, he raised concerns that mid-level talents may be most affected by the new policy. “The most talented would be granted hukou and stay, while those at the bottom would also stay. Mid-level talents could have good salary and hukou in other cities and so they would leave,” Sun said. 
The work conference also made it clear that Beijing government would restrict college graduates in certain majors to be granted Hukou. The “rigorously controlled” majors include automobile making, wholesale and retail, and textile and garment. 
According to Wang Yukai, Beijing is to be built as a center for politics, culture, international exchange and scientific innovation; so, the city would select elites in certain majors that would help with the goal. 
Wang predicts the quota in certain industries that do not fit capital functions would be cut down, while quotas in fields like high-tech and international cultural exchange would be increased.  
Sun analyzed that in the attempts to clear out non-capital functions, the limited quota will give priority to some specific industries that the government would want to foster, like finance and entrepreneurship. 
The conference also revealed that the main six districts of Beijing - Dongcheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, Shijingshan - would be rigorously restricted to recruit non-Beijing native college graduates. 
Previously it was reported that the six districts had fallen behind their schedules in phasing out non-capital functions. Based on the set objective, inhabitants are supposed to be decreased by 15 percent from that of 2014 during the 13th Five Year Plan period, or 400,000 annually during the five years. Data at the end of November 2016 shows that first nine months of 2016 only saw 96,000 people leave.  
It is reported by earlier that Beijing has been tearing down small shops and businesses in a bid to combat "urban diseases", as the Chinese capital tries to limit its population by evicting the migrants to the surrounding cities and towns.


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