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Migrant Workers Should Have Equal Access to Health, Education Resources

Providing equal rights to all, no matter where they are from, is crucial to helping cities develop and encourage a sense of belonging among all residents

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Apr.16

Migrant workers – those who have traveled from rural areas to find work in urban areas – who have permanent resident permits in cities should enjoy the same education and medical care as urban residents. Only in this way will they feel a sense of belongings and desire to live longer in cities, the 21st Century Business Herald commented. 

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, released an announcement on key tasks for a new type of urbanization construction in 2019, which requires medium-sized cities to loosen restrictions on giving migrants permanent residency.

Cities whose permanent resident population is from one to three million should completely cancel any residency restrictions, and those with population from three to five million should loosen restrictions. Megacities need to adjust and improve their policies on points-based household registration. 

The current household registration system in China divides people into urban and rural according to place of birth and where people’s parents were born. The dual household registration system means people and resources cannot flow freely, and that registered rural dwellers are not entitled to the same welfare benefits as urbanites.  

Access to education and healthcare where they live, for themselves and their children, is a crucial issue for migrant workers and will determine how long they live in a city. Although public schools have loosened restrictions on school admission for migrant children, more public and private schools need to be built with government backing. 

And in the healthcare sector, migrants should be treated the same as local people when they go to hospital, which is another crucial way of encouraging workers who are vital to urban development to stay in cities.