New Immigration Law to Provide Platform for Managing Immigration
After ten long years the NPC finally passed an Immigration Law that provides a unified platform in managing immigration. Two leading employment lawyers shared their views on how the Law will be affecting immigration policies. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) Immigration Administration Law (in Chinese) was passed during the 27th Session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress. The law passed through a legislative process of deliberations before it was passed.
Once the law is effective it will be combining and repealing the Law for Foreigners and the Law for Citizens, thus making it a first major reform in China’s immigration laws since the ’80’s. While combining the two separate laws into one is not common since it happened before with the Contract Law. This combining of laws just shows that the country is now more open and more international. Furthermore the constant increase in economic growth and globalization pushed the need for a consistent and comprehensive immigration law. But passing the law took time since enacting a law is not like enacting local rules. It had to undergo research, discussions and coordination as much as possible.
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. Several key points of the new law are as follows.
- Foreigners caught being employed illegally in China will be fined 5,000 RMB to 20,000RMB. If the violation is serious the person can be detained to a mazximum of 15 days
- Foreigners staying in China without a valid visa, or violates the condition of their stay will get a written warning. If the offense is considered serious the person will be fined a maximum of 10,000RMB and detention of a maximum of 15 days is also possible
- Foreigners entering China with the wrong type of visa will be deported. Those with serious offence will be banned from entering China for a maximum of 10 years
- Employers who provide work to foreigners without any valid work authorization is liable for a monetary fine of 5,000RMB to 10,000RMB for every worker employed
- Employers falsifying information and documents that are submitted with immigration applications such as company letters will be penalized of 10,000RMB to 50,000RMB
Changes that will affect foreign companies or assignees:
- Minimum length of work related residents permit will be shorten from 180 days to 90 days. This will prevent foreigners from working on a short term business F visa, then travelling to neighboring countries to renew since work permit applications takes longer to process than the F visa
- Work related residence permits is valid for 90 days minimum and 5 years maximum, non work related residence permits is valid of 180 days minimum and 5 years maximum
- A biometrics system such as fingerprinting will be put in place for foreign visitors at immigration entry and exit points to help curb illegal entry
- Foreigners might be restricted in establishing residences or workplaces in certain locations if deemed necessary by the Public Security Bureau and national security. If already established they are given a certain time to relocate
- A new Talent and Outstanding Alien visa category will be available to foreigners that demonstrated special or short occupation skills, or recognized by the government as those possessing exceptional or internationally recognized skills
Details on how the new law will be implemented have yet to be presented. In the meantime all employers with branches in China or those who have sponsored foreign assignees to work in their companies must check their systems and processes to ensure that they are compliant with the new immigration laws provided the employers and assignees are aware of their obligations and limitations there will be no issues in adapting to the new rules