China vows to ease difficulties for returning students


China has vowed to make it easier for Chinese students returning after studying abroad to access national preferential policies specifically designed for them.


Premier Li Keqiang has said 18 departments under the State Council must ease the difficulties that Chinese students who studied abroad encounter when returning home to work.


A document issued in June 2016 stated that students who study abroad find it difficult to apply for the preferential policies which are designed for them, such as obtaining hukou (household registration) or start-up subsidies from the government, the Beijing News reported Sunday.It said that based on this document, Li has ordered the 18 departments to work together to solve these problems.


"I knew the government had subsidies [for students who study overseas], but I don't know how to apply for them. Then an insider told me I should ask an agency for help, but the agency fee amounts to 30 percent of the subsidy," a Chinese student who studies in the US was quoted as saying in the document.


After Li's instruction, the departments published guidelines on how to apply for government subsidies and established a mechanism for accountability, complaints, and punishments, said the Beijing News.


It added that China's Ministry of Finance also published details of management, application guide and distribution of these funds, in order to make the process more transparent.


According to the website of Zhongguancun Science Park, students who studied abroad can get a maximum of 100,000 yuan ($14,000) in subsidies if their company has registered funds of up to 500,000 yuan. Many students who studied overseas have complained about difficulties in obtaining a hukou through the preferential policy.


A student surnamed Su who obtained his postgraduate degree in the UK told the Global Times that he met all the conditions on the website but he still could not get a hukou because his employer does not have a quota to apply for it.


According to the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, students who study abroad for over one year and are awarded a degree can apply for a Beijing hukou if they find a job in the city within two years of graduation.


The Beijing News reported that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Public Security issued policies in 2016 that aim to simplify the process for these students to get a hukou.


In recent years, more and more Chinese students have been choosing to return after finishing their studies abroad. In 2015, 523,700 people went to study overseas and 409,100 returned, but just five years earlier, the China News Service reported.