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Guangzhou tightens migrant regulations

2014-11-25 08:49 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Non-Guangzhou hukou holders will be required to register within three working days upon their arrival in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, to strengthen management of the city's migrants, the local government said in a new regulation published recently.

But the new regulation immediately sparked widespread speculation among the public, with experts also questioning its feasibility and enforceability.

The regulation requires migrants to go to their local migrant population management center to register themselves with valid ID or a passport within three working days.

Migrants' landlords are required to collect basic information within 24 hours if their tenants are newly arrived, and to report it to the appropriate center within three working days.

People visiting Guangzhou for travel, business trips or medical reasons will be excluded from the registration system, the report said.

"The registration is meant to collect accurate information on migrants to [help the government] formulate better public policy," the Guangzhou government's press release reads.

So far, the regulation is not compulsory, and the city has not specified punishments for violators.

The Guangzhou city authority that manages the city's so-called "floating population," a popular term for migrants living in an area without a local hukou, said that its resources have been strained, but expects to publish more detailed measures by next week, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

An employee working at one of the city's local floating population management centers who requested anonymity told the Global Times that the center has yet to officially receive the new notice.

The center currently suggests that newcomers register within three months, and its employees check residents' registration status occasionally. But as the policy is not compulsory, many people have refused to cooperate with the center, the female employee said.

"We've been verbally abused many times. There's nothing we can do except keep urging them to register," she added.

Referring to the government's new registration requirement, she said that many non-registered residents have already been in the city at least a week before the center is able to identify them and that find them within three working days would be a very difficult task.

Guangzhou's floating population stood at 8.3 million at the end of 2013, of which 6.8 million were registered, according to China Radio International.

Li Jianming, a professor with the Institute of Population and Development at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times that the policy will not be effective in managing Guangzhou's floating population.

The new regulation could also result in a waste of public funds, as some people might leave Guangzhou a few days after they registered, he added.

Registering in person is a waste of time for both the public and government employees, Li said.

He suggested that the registration system for large cities like Guangzhou should be shifted online.

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