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China to ease career barriers for top foreign talent

Updated: Jan 20,2016 7:17 AM     Xinhua

Two foreign job seekers at a job fair in Shenzhen, south China.[Photo/Xinhua]

China is looking at removing career barriers for top foreign talent eligible to work at research institutions, colleges and universities - a move expected to make more opportunities, such as research projects or jobs, accessible to highly qualified foreigners.

Zhang Jianguo, director of the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, said China will further enhance its attractiveness to global talent in the coming five years.

“We will encourage establishing a recruitment mechanism within research institutions, colleges and universities that will take job applications from around the world,” said Zhang. “We will also draft a regulation to guide foreign experts to participate in national science and technology programs, as well as being leaders of important research projects.”

“We will also encourage foreign experts to participate in the selection of China’s science and technology awards equally with their Chinese colleagues,” Zhang said.

Gao Xiang, spokesman of the administration, said barriers exist for three reasons - limitations created by bureaucracy, lack of transparency in current policies and the Chinese language barrier.

“In the past, some jobs in China could only be taken by Chinese employees within their own system. Some research projects were not open for applications from foreign talents,” Gao said. “There have been some changes in certain research institutes or universities, yet it is not a formalized government policy - not to mention that many foreign talents have little understanding of the changes.”

Gao said another area of complaint involves the language.

“In China, even if some foreign talents can apply for research project funds, they must submit papers in Chinese. This is a disadvantage for them,” said Gao.

Ralf Altmeyer, a German virologist who is managing director at the Helmholtz Institute of Biotechnology at Shandong University, agreed. Requiring Chinese as a working language does create challenges for foreign experts doing scientific research, Altmeyer said, suggesting that application forms be made available in English.

Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing think tank, added that other barriers should also be removed to keep foreign talents in China.

“Many foreign scientists and researchers might have very limited information, say on education for their children,” he said.

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