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The scope and the study of international migration have reached unprecedented levels. The UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) recognises that ‘migration is a multidimensional reality of major relevance for the sustainable development of countries of origin, transit and destination’, and calls for ‘integrat[ing] migration into development planning and sectoral policies at local, national, regional and global levels’. Such policies may include targeting individuals who are highly skilled/highly educated or lower skilled/less educated to fulfil different developmental goals. China, with its globalised economy, rapid economic growth, and wealth accumulation in recent decades embodies such a trend. With recruitment policies for top-tier Chinese returnees and foreign professionals, China has become an emerging destination for overseas talent. However, there is a lack of city-level/local-level analysis of the roles that local incentives and policies play when people choose a destination city. We aim to fill this gap by focusing on city-level talent recruitment and retention policies in Guangzhou, the capital of China’s Guangdong Province. In this policy commentary, we will 1) Compare and contrast the talent recruitment and retention policies instituted and implemented by the City of Guangzhou to attract Chinese returnees and foreign professionals in the last two decades; and 2) Assess the effectiveness and fairness of such policies, and their implications for other areas and countries in the global ‘race for talent’.

Open Access
In: Governing Migration for Development from the Global Souths