Recently, China”s Ministry of Public Security announced a new Exit-Entry Administration Law which is intended to come into force on 1 July 2013.
Issues of illegal employment, illegal entry and overstay, caused by the rise in the numbers of foreigners who are travelling to China to work and live, have become an increasing concern for the Chinese Government. The new law is designed to reduce such violations by creating harsh punishments for those who breach Chinese immigration rules.
Some of the key points from the new law are summarised as follows:
- Foreigners who engage in employment illegally in China will be fined from RMB5,000 to RMB20,000 (approx. USD800 – USD3,200). If the offence is serious the individual could be detained for up to maximum 15 days.
- Foreigners who stay in China without a valid visa, or who violate a condition of their stay, will receive a written warning and if the offence is serious, a monetary fine of up to RMB10,000 maximum. Detention of up to maximum 15 days is also possible.
- Foreigners who enter China with the incorrect type of visa will be deported. If the offence is serious, the foreigner will be barred from entering China for a maximum of 10 years.
- Any employer who knowingly provides jobs to foreigners who do not have any valid work authorisation in China will be liable to a monetary fine ranging from RMB5,000 to RMB10,000 (approx. USD800 – USD1,600) per worker.
- Employers who are found to have falsified information or documents submitted with immigration applications, including company invitation letters, will face penalties ranging from RMB 10,000 to RMB 50,000.
Changes affecting foreign companys or assignees
- The minimum length of work-related residence permits will be cut from 180 days to 90 days. This is to prevent foreigners from working on the short term business “F” visa and then travelling to neighbouring countries such as Hong Kong to renew it, which occurs because generally the work permit application process takes longer than the F visa process.
- Foreigner”s work-related residence permits will be valid for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of five years. Non-work-related residence permits will be valid for a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of five years.
- A system to gather biometrics, such as fingerprints, from foreign visitors may be put in place at immigration entry / exit checkpoints to curb illegal entry.
- The Public Security Bureau and national security forces may restrict foreigners and foreign businesses from establishing residences or workplaces in certain locations, if it is deemed necessary for national or public security. If already established, they may be given deadlines to relocate.
- New “Skilled Talent” and “Outstanding Alien” visas will be made available to foreign nationals who demonstrate specialised or shortage occupation skills, or who are recognised by the Chinese government as possessing exceptional and internationally recognised expertise/skills.
We are still awaiting details of how these policies will be implemented, and will update our clients when further information is available.
In the meantime, employers with a branch in China or who sponsor foreign assignees to work there should check their systems and processes to ensure that they are fully compliant with Chinese immigration laws. Provided employers and foreign assignees are aware of their obligations and any limitations on the activities they may carry out, there should be no issues with adapting to the new rules.