China's State Council announced yesterday that Chinese university graduates who relocate to western or central China will be eligible for a full refund of their tuition fees. The program was one of several measures aimed at improving employment prospects for university graduates.
With 6.1 million new graduates entering a bleak domestic job market and an official unemployment rate of 12 percent among recent graduates, the central government is hoping to move educated students into towns and villages in western and central China, where they would be entering smaller but less competitive labor pools.
According to labor experts at the China Academy of Social Sciences, many university graduates would rather work low-skilled jobs in China's wealthier coastal cities than take skilled positions in the country's interior cities.
A recent Guangzhou Daily report said that in the past half year more than 2,000 university graduates had applied to work as domestic helpers in the city of Guangzhou, some of them holding Master's degrees.
The 'Go West' refund for graduates was announced after a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, the second such meeting aimed at addressing domestic labor concerns. A meeting on December 10 focused on migrant workers.
Other measures announced yesterday include university refunds for graduates who join the army, incentives for graduates to seek employment in small- and medium-sized enterprises and preferential loan policies and taxes for graduates who start their own companies.
Restrictions related to hukou were also removed for graduates who take jobs outside of their cities of official residence, not including the centrally administered municipalities of Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing.
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