Shanghai to lure more overseas talent


SHANGHAI -- Silvia Guatelli, a fresh biology graduate from the University of Milan, decided to come to Shanghai to look for a job after the city stepped up its search for more overseas talent in April.

Guatelli went to a job fair for foreign applicants in Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) last Thursday looking for a position in bio-tech or engineering.

"I want to start my career in China," she said. "China has invested a lot in bio-tech research."

Guatelli is among the first group of graduates from top-ranked universities benefitting from Shanghai's new policies.

Graduates can apply for jobs in Shanghai FTZ directly after graduation. Previously, two years of overseas work experience were required.

Christy Kwon Sohyun became the very first foreign employee in Shanghai hi-tech company DFRobot after he graduated from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics last year with a master's degree in international business.

Working as an overseas community operator, Kwon said it took two months to obtain his work visa. "Many of my classmates spent longer applying for a work visa in some European countries."

"Those who have out-of-the-box ideas and innovative thinking, as well as being multi-lingual are definitely popular in the job market," said Kwon.

At the fair, some 53 companies in Shanghai FTZ offered a total of 478 positions in finance, marketing, engineering, and education, attracting 150 graduates from 14 overseas universities.

Since April 3 when Pudong New Area announced policies to attract "foreign brains," 54 work visas have been issued, said the overseas talent bureau in Shanghai Pudong New Area.

Allowing top performing overseas graduates to apply for permanent residency after they have worked for three years and introducing part-time opportunities with companies operating in the FTZ were the highlights of the new policies.

Zhang Wei, a Chinese German expert in optoelectronics, obtained a business license last month to set up a tech company in the FTZ.

"Previously it would have been time-consuming and costly as a foreign applicant," said Zhang. "But it only took me five working days to get the license rather than two months, and required fewer application materials."

The Shanghai Pudong New Area, where the FTZ is located, is home to 36,000 foreign professionals. Its government plans to spend at least 2 billion yuan (312 million U.S. dollars) to attract overseas talent in the next three years.