Beijing Scraps Discriminatory Regulation on Migrant Workers

April 5, 2005

On March 25, the Beijing Local People's Congress (LPC) abolished municipal regulations that strictly limited housing and employment available to migrants, according to a Beijing News report. Chinese and foreign analysts have expected the local rules in Beijing to be abolished for some time.

The Beijing LPC's action does not guarantee that migrants will now be treated the same as local citizens, despite some Chinese media reports (1, 2) that suggest this result. Migrants will have greater freedom to live and work in Beijing, but are still not guaranteed equal access to public services. Moreover, a number of restrictions on migrants remain in force, including family planning rules and temporary residence requirements directed specifically at them. Beijing municipal officials also are considering new regulations to replace those just abolished.

A comprehensive CECC survey of recent hukou reforms suggests that the reforms in Beijing roughly parallel those taking place across China. These reforms have relaxed restrictions on the ability of Chinese citizens to migrate to seek work. The revised rules, however, generally retain restrictions that prevent most poor Chinese migrants from changing their hukou status and obtaining public services on the same basis as urban residents.