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Foreign grads face local job hurdles

MORE and more foreigners want to stay and work in Shanghai amid China's robust economic development, but they find some obstacles due to lack of job-finding skills and tight government policies.

Mira You, a South Korean woman, landed a job at a human resources company in Shanghai after graduating from Fudan University this year. Following her Chinese classmates, she looked for a job just as many local students did. She visited 51job.com and other job-recruitment websites, submitted her resume to firms and accumulated lots of intern experiences.

"I kept asking my Chinese students how they look for jobs and they told me lots of useful methods," said You. "After I uploaded my resume online, many firms called me and offered me interview opportunities."

But most foreign students have no idea how to find a job in the city, and they complain that the colleges don't provide any help. Tickets were not offered to foreign students at a job-recruitment fair held at Fudan University yesterday, because the positions provided by companies were targeted at Chinese graduates.

The university doesn't provide any job information and guidance for expats. Most universities don't include overseas students' employment in their working agenda, and few universities track foreigners' activities after graduation.

"Many students left for their motherland as soon as they graduated," said Yang Zengguo, acting director of Fudan's International Students Office. "It's hard for us to keep tracking their whereabouts."

Some foreign university graduates found a job in the city but failed to get the work permit and work visa due to tight policies. Under the current regulation, foreigners must have more than two years' working experience to get a work permit from human resources authorities.

Because most graduates fail to meet that requirement, many universities simply exclude the service as the city has never required universities to cover that field.

Shanghai plans to nearly double the p! roportio n of foreign university students, going from 8 percent now to 15 percent by 2020, in an effort to make local universities more international.

The city has worked to upgrade courses for foreigners and enlarge scholarship opportunities, but employment services for them are still absent amid China's high employment pressure.

The lack of job help for foreign students is believed to dampen overseas students' interest in applying to local universities.

"Most students who studied in degree-issuing programs are interested in working in Shanghai, while students in language-training programs are not," said a Western student whose Chinese name is Chang Wei. He declined to name his country, where English is not the first language.

He said many foreign students want to stay because they have made a Chinese boyfriend or a girlfriend, established a social network in the city, or simply gotten used to city life. Moreover, students said they don't want to go back to their homeland for a job because local universities' certificates are less competitive in the global job market.

Chang, about to graduate next year, has worked hard to find a job in the city by attending different social recruitment job fairs. But he found most firms prefer expats from English-speaking countries.


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