We know you are here legally. No no, please put your passport away. We don’t need to see it. But for that friend of a friend that’s working on an F or an L visa, you may want to pay attention to the following:
China is getting tougher over foreigners illegally entering, living or working in China, Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning said yesterday.
When delivering a report on the administration of entry-exit, residence and employment of foreigners to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the top legislature, Yang said the crackdown will include improving visa policies, strengthening border controls, repatriating illegal aliens, and setting up repatriation locations in regions that have large numbers of such foreigners.
Most illegal foreigners are from neighboring countries, according to Yang. Language training, housekeeping and labor-intensive industries were the main sectors employing them.
Police last year investigated more than 20,000 incidents in which foreigners illegally entered, lived or worked on China’s mainland, double the number in 1995.
Couple that with the following:
China is likely to introduce a nationwide system to archive information about foreigners in the country, according to a draft law proposed to lawmakers on Tuesday.
The suggestion, if put into practice, will replace current scattered records set up by different administrations to which access is limited to one government agency. Experts said the change would effectively crack down on people who overstayed their visas or worked illegally.
The draft on regulating arrivals and departures from China was tabled before the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for a second reading. It was put before the top legislature in a first draft in December to allow the government to gather and store biometric data on foreign visitors “whenever they deem it necessary”, expanding the government’s right to collect such data.
The good news is that it appears the country is also expanding the availability of permanent resident permits and giving foreigners more ways to “get legal”.
Zhang Yan at China Business Watch sums it up well:
For long-term residents, these plans sound like nothing new: indeed, reports about databases and crackdowns are regularly carried in state-media. Recently, however, lawyers are reporting increasing numbers of cases of foreigners being caught and punished for overstaying. Their advice: get legal, stay legal, and enjoy any favorable policies that get introduced.