China’s New Exit-Entry Law Targets Illegal Foreigners

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By Yao Lu

Jul. 6 – With the aim of curbing the illegal entry, stay and employment of foreigners as well as clarifying punishments for people who enter, live or work in the country illegally, China’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), concluded its 27th meeting and passed a new Exit-Entry Administration Law on June 30.

The new Exit-Entry Administration Law is enacted to cope with the rising trend of immigration and to target new problems and situations faced by the Exit-Entry Administration. The new law integrates and improves upon the two already existing laws (the PRC Law on the Control of the Exit and Entry of Citizens and the PRC Law on the Control of the Exit and Entry of Aliens), and has several new features.

The new Exit-Entry Administration Law will take effect on July 1, 2013, with the two previous laws scheduled to be abolished concurrently.

Exerting harsher punishments

Illegal employment sanctions
According to the new law, employers will be fined RMB10,000 for every foreigner they illegally employ up to a maximum fine of RMB100,000. Any monetary gains that have resulted from the employment of such individuals will also be forfeit.

Illegal working sanctions
The new law stipulates that foreigners should obtain the required identity and employment documents when they are working in China. Any expat caught working in China without valid employment documents could be fined between RMB5,000 and RMB20,000, with detention also possible in serious cases.

Fines and detention for illegal stay
Foreigners staying in the country illegally will be given a warning before being fined, however fines in severe cases may be as high as RMB10,000 and individuals could face detention times of between 5 to 15 days, according to the new law.

Deportation
Foreign nationals found guilty of illegal entry, illegal residence or working illegally in the country may be repatriated and will not be allowed to re-enter China for a five-year period. Foreigners who violate China’s laws and regulations and are deemed “unsuitable” to stay will be given an exit deadline to depart voluntarily. Those who commit “severe violations” that do not constitute crimes may be deported and not allowed to enter the country again for a 10-year period. The new law further states that people who assist in such illegal acts will also be punished.

Strengthening supervision and management

Length of residence certificates
Foreigners’ work-related residence certificates will be valid for a minimum 90 days and a maximum of five years, according to the new law. Non-work-related residence certificates will be valid for a minimum 180 days and a maximum of five years. For foreigners holding visas with a maximum stay of 180 days, the holders should hand in documents to government departments above the county level to apply for an extension seven days before the certificate expires, adding that the length of the extension should not exceed the originally permitted duration.

Request for biometric data
Foreigners seeking residency must provide their fingerprints and “other biometric data” to the public security bureau (PSB). In addition, the PSB and Ministry of Foreign Affairs may, with the State Council’s approval, promulgate regulations to collect such biometric data from persons exiting and entering the country.

Obligation to report
Units or personnel employing foreigners or enrolling foreign students should report employment information to the local police departments. Meanwhile, citizens are encouraged to report clues to the authorities regarding foreigners who may work and live in China illegally.

Restrictions over residence and working locations of foreigners
The law also allows the Chinese government to restrict foreigners and foreign entities from establishing residences or workplaces in certain locations. If already established in banned areas, they could be given deadlines to move.

Improving facilitation and convenience

Although the new Exit-Entry Administration Law stipulates harsher punishments for foreigners who illegally enter, live or work in China, at the same time, it also aims to better facilitate and offer more convenience to foreigners who choose to take the proper legal route.

Introduction of “talent visas”
The new law introduces a new category of visas, termed “talent visas,” which underlines the country’s increasing efforts to attract high-caliber talented individuals from overseas to assist in the country’s development. The new law further states that foreigners who make “outstanding contributions” to China will be granted permanent residence.

Extension of ordinary visa
The new law allows longer visa-free stopovers and more temporary entries based on international conventions and humanitarian considerations in order to attract more tourists and business people.

Ordinary visas will be granted to foreigners who enter the country to work, study, visit relatives, travel or conduct business, as well as to those who qualify for the above-mentioned “talent visa.”

Improvement of “green card” system
The new law further improves China’s “green card” system and paves the way for further relaxing of the requirements on permanent residency, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Introduction of treatment of refugees
For the first time, China has added provisions to its domestic law regarding the treatment of refugees. The new law allows refugees to stay in China after obtaining an ID card from public security authorities. Asylum-seekers will also be allowed to use a temporary ID card to stay in the country while their refugee status is under examination.

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14 responses to “China’s New Exit-Entry Law Targets Illegal Foreigners”

  1. Alfred says:

    Dear reader

    Is it possible according to china law to grant pardon to a person deported from china before the 5 year ban lapses?

    Can this person apply for a visa in any china embassy or consulate if he deem fit that he can convince the visa consular that his deportation should not had happen?.

    Kind regards

  2. @Alfred, I’ve never heard of such a case, and China will have stored your details in a centralized computer database at immigration. However I’ve heard that if you change your passport and have a new one with a new number that may suffice. But I wouldn’t guarantee it. I don’t think your Embassy will be able to help. – Chris

  3. Sexybomber says:

    Hi, I asked few questions but not satisfied with the answers given.I am married to a Chinese girl and have a daughter.I lived and worked on Z visa for 11 years now. I want to seek permanent residency if possible apply for Chinese passport and ID cards

    1. what is the procedure to seek permanent residency?

    2. what does the green card system say? could you please elaborate?

    3. my family hukou book only contains my daughter and my wife’s name how can i enter
    the hukou book with the new visa system?

    4. few things: I hold bachelors degree backed with professional teachers certificate A and
    have very rich working experience:

    can i seek permanent residency by

    a. marriage?

    b. long stay?

    c. talent or skills?

    Please your advice is highly appreciated

  4. @Sexybomber: I’m sorry you’re ‘not satisfied’ with the answers given. Firstly, please remember that advise given here is free and under no obligation to you. Secondly, we are a legal and tax practice, not Immigration or Visa consultants. I have already given you the contact details of the Ghanian Embassy, and suggested you take the matter up with them for advice. Alternatively I recommend you contact a local law firm where you are based that is familar with Immigration law and visa issues for foreigners. That’s the best I can do. Thank You – Chris

  5. Sexybomber says:

    thank you for your benevolent service my brother Chris

  6. Sexybomber says:

    Hi Chris,
    I follow very closely the release of the new visa system.I was at the PSB or local entry-exit office today at 9 am.

    Anyway we quizzed the lady on the counter and she said :

    1. the law will take effect after 6 months

    2. Yuncheng city of shanxi province has not received any notice yet

    3. The new visa system is for high tech applicant regardless my degree and experience of
    work
    4. No change in the green card system

    Simply all the response she gave was in negative direction with the new law.

    Just as it happened to my friend in gansu province, he married for 8 years and was trying to handle his own visas, when he went to the local PSB / immigration, he was given totally negative answer but when he proceed to the provincial capital of his province, the lady on the country was called and instructed from the provincial level and within a week he has the visa Z stamped in his passport.

    I know for sure i will experience the same here in Yuncheng city so i will proceed to the provincial level today for enquiry about the visa system.

    Any professional advice from your end will be highly appreciated

  7. Sexybomber says:

    any reference to visa law or legal practitioner is welcomed. Thank you brother chris

  8. @Sexybomber, as we keep saying, how this is applied is inconsistant across the country. The higher up you go in terms of officialdom, then generally the more au fait with actual regulations and laws they become. Good luck – Chris

  9. Sexybomber says:

    Thank you my brother Chris. I would love to forget about china and aim towards USA the only best place to live on earth. I will move my family out of China

  10. @Sexybomber – I wouldn’t disagree. The US is hard to get into, but once its done it’s done and they leave you alone to get on with your life and contribute to society. In China, you’re always a foreigner, and visas need to be issued every year as a result. It’s a pain especially when you’ve invested so much time. effort, money and emotion in the country. They do not reciprocate. Good luck – Chris

  11. EMILE says:

    Hi Cris,
    My name is Emile From Ghana.this is my 2nd year in China as Language student.Can you help me with the full version of the new laws concerning students?Thanks.

  12. safina says:

    HI CRIS,
    I M SAFINA FROM PAKISTAN LIVING IN CHINA WITH MY HUSBAND AND KIDS . WE ARE HERE FROM LAST SEPTEMBER2012. MY HUSBAND IS STUDYING HERE . HE HAS TO SATY HERE FOR MORE 2 YEARS. SO NOW WHAT SHOULD WE NEED
    OUR VISA CATEGORY IS CHANGED FROM L TO S1
    SO WILL IT CHANGE HERE? OR WE HAVE TO GO BACK PAKISTAN AND GET S1 TYPE VISA FROM THERE
    PLS CLEAR IT FOR US THANKS

  13. @Emile : Student visas are now in the X1 or X2 category. This comes into effect on 1st Sepember. The X1 Visa is for long-term students and the X2 Visa is for short-term students. Apart from the change in visa name there should be no change in how to apply for a residence permit – with exception being you may have to give fingerprints.

    @Safina: S1 visas are for foreigners who come for family reunions, and are for periods of six months and over, so I think you’re OK.

    Best regards – Chris

  14. P.R.Prasad says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am Indian and my wife is Filipino. My three children born in China and studying in china. 11 years ago the PSB officer told us they can stay in China no problem. Either VISA nor permanent residence card was issued to them. Suddenly they informed us you must take VISA for them. And they took my statement and told me we are fining them 2000 RMB X 3 = 6000 RMB for three children. I agreed and paid with out any argument. After a month they called me and told we are going to cancel your VISA because being a head of the family you are the responsible for all . They cancel my VISA and took only photo at border control point and they took signature on one document. How long this restriction on me to reenter to Main Land China? If you are able to give a answer I am kind of you please.
    And my children are allowed to study in China and my wife is allowed to stay in China with valid visa’s respectively.

    Thanks.

    Regards,

    Prasad.

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