Hukou brings tricky choice
It never occurred to Sun Yukun that the decision he made four years ago would have an impact on his career. When the 22-year-old entered college in 2009, he decided not to change his rural residence to a students’ collective one. But when he finished college and was offered a job with a state-owned enterprise in Beijing, Sun was told that he couldn’t accept the offer unless he had an urban hukou (household registration record). This time, he had no choice but to change his residence status.
Transferring hukou to a university became optional in 2003, and many students are confronted with the dilemma of whether to do so or not. Professionals suggest they make the decision based on their current situation and future plans.
‘I regret transferring my hukou’
Wang Jinbi, 20, is an accounting major at Beijing Union University. Coming from Chifeng, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, she transferred her hukou when she enrolled at university.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Wang says. “Since I’m registering under an urban hukou, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in Beijing or Inner Mongolia, I thought.”
What Wang didn’t expect, however, is that she would regret her decision later. “After two years of study, I’ve figured out my future plans. I want to return to my hometown and make a living there,” she says. That means Wang needs to transfer her hukou back again, which she worries will be a troublesome procedure.
“I have a friend who graduated last year. She spent a lot of time and energy transferring her hukou back to her hometown again due to complicated paperworks,” says Wang.
Guidelines for transferring hukou
Wang’s experience is not uncommon. Many students don’t know what their decision means for their future.
In order to help these students, Xie Yongqiang, from the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Justice, posted a guideline for transferring hukou on a micro blog. According to Xie, students should firstly think about where they’re going to stay. “If you like the city where you’re studying and are considering staying there after graduation, then you should transfer your hukou,” he wrote.
Students should also transfer their hukou if they intend to participate in an exchange program. According to Ju Haojie, deputy director of the household registration department at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, when applying for exchange programs, it saves a lot of trouble if students have a collective hukou registered under the university.
But Xie also made suggestions for students with a rural registration. “If your family has land and a house, it’s possible that you’ll get a share of compensation in the event of a forced relocation. For those students, I would recommend them not to transfer their hukou,” he wrote. This doesn’t affect students in terms of receiving medical insurance and other benefits at university.
‘I want to stay in Beijing’
Sometimes, students abandon their rural hukou for the prospect of a better future. Tang Yanwei is one of them. The 23-year-old from Yantai, Shandong province, had a rural hukou but transferred it after enrolling at Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture.
Although there are a lot of preferential policies for rural residents, for Tang, an urban hukou in Beijing is attractive. “I want to stay in Beijing, so a students’ collective Beijing urban hukou is a promising start,” he says. “I’ll do anything that could help me stay here. After all, there’s no turning back for me now.”