Staff workers answer inquiries from an expat in the Foreign Affairs Service Station in Pudong, Shanghai, on Monday. (Source: China Daily)
BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- A service center catering for foreign residents has officially opened in the city of Shanghai's Pudong New Area following a two-month trial period.
The Foreign Affairs Service Station, set up by Pudong district police and Lianyang community at No 3 Building, 2797 Yaogao Middle Road, provides temporary residence permits and guidance on daily life and work. Eight staff workers offer assistance in English, Japanese and Korean.
"The station is equipped with personal data systems, so expats can complete temporary residence registration here in a short time, rather than having to go to the local police department and wait a long time," said Sun Qianyi, a Pudong district police officer.
The station also offers assistance to expats on more day-to-day aspects of life.
"Many expats come to ask how to send their children to school, how to seek medical service and how to apply for a Chinese driving license. So we tell them how to do it," said Chen Lingyan, a staff member at the center.
Chen said about 700 expats in the community had received help from the service during its trial run.
As one of the city's largest international communities, Lianyang has more than 5,300 expats from 78 countries, accounting for 10 percent of all residents.
"As more foreigners come to Shanghai to live and work in the city, they may find things strange and feel lost at first. So we hope we can provide some necessary assistance to them," Chen said. "We have received a lot of positive feedback."
The service center also organizes community activities during Chinese and Western festivals, inviting Chinese and foreign residents to take part as a way to better integrate expats.
"Things have become much easier now. Previously, we had to line up for a long time to get the temporary residence permit, but now we can get it straight away," said Carl Hinze in an interview with Shanghai Television at the weekend.
"This is a very fantastic idea to have such service. Many expats need help when they first arrive at the city because don't understand Chinese," said Jacqueline Dawn Faulkner from the UK, who has been in Shanghai for more than three years.
She said language is a big hurdle for expats in the city. "Life in Shanghai is quite good. But sometimes I still feel some inconvenience though I have been here for years and I can speak a little bit of Chinese," she said. "And it will be more beneficial if such service stations opened in more communities."
There are reported to be more than 200,000 foreign residents in Shanghai.
(Source: China Daily)