Tianjin relaxes household registration policy

Photo: China Times

The government of North China's Tianjin Municipality has lowered its household registration, or hukou, threshold on Wednesday to attract more skilled workers to the city.

Tianjin's local household registration system now accepts applications from bachelor and master's degree-holders up to the age of 40 and 45, respectively, while doctorate degree holders of any age can register directly.
Statistics show that some 300,000 people downloaded the Tianjin Public Security app to apply for the hukou in the first 24 hours, while there were also reports of people across the country driving overnight to take part.
Tianjin's policy changes are a response to talent competition from some second-tier cities, such as Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xi'an, Nanjing, Chengdu and Hefei, which have issued a series of favorable hukou and housing policies to attract young people.
However, the move has raised new concerns about education and housing price.
Tianjin boasts a higher college enrollment rate than any other second-tier city. Many applicants are suspected of taking advantage of the policy, and they have no plans to work in the city.
The new policies also have a knock-on effect on Tianjin's real estate sector. People fear that applicants move to the city just to engage in real estate speculation for illegal income, which could push the already unaffordable housing prices even higher.
"The craze for Tianjin hukou reflects people's anxiety about the household registration system. To change the current situation, the government should prepare to promote hukou reform," said an analyst.
"Many densely populated cities allocate their resources according to household registration, which causes people to attach great importance to hukou," he added.
"I suggest the government should make efforts to restore the system's initial purpose of population management."

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