Law to hit visitors working illegally
The top legislature has begun discussing a draft law aimed at cracking down on foreigners illegally entering, working or staying on the mainland.
The law will also set out how qualified foreigners can secure permanent residency.
Xinhua reported yesterday that in a bid to settle the thorny and lingering issue of illegal aliens, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress yesterday discussed a draft law that would enable law enforcement agencies to detain suspects and examine their cases.
Deputy Public Security Minister Yang Huanning , who briefed the lawmakers, said: 'Practically speaking, quite a number of foreign suspects who are not in possession of legal documents refuse to give their real names and that's why police have sought legal support for much-needed investigation, which usually takes time.'
Apart from authorising detention, the law would also give agencies the power to repatriate offenders.
Foreigners who work illegally would be fined between 5,000 yuan and 20,000 yuan (HK$6,000 to HK$24,300) and might be detained for up to 15 days for serious violations. Those who illegally provide job-placement services for foreigners or illegally employ them would be also fined.
Once expelled, they would be barred from returning for five years.
The proposed law also says foreigners who make outstanding contributions to the economic or social development of the country could be entitled to permanent residency.
Professor Ong Yew-kim, from the China University of Political Science and Law, welcomed the draft law, saying it was a significant step in keeping up with the times and improving immigration management.
'In a stark contrast with previous ambiguous principles, the new law will show foreigners how they can work and earn a living, while China, in turn, will also be able to bring in talent with a more transparent residency scheme, to its economic and technological benefit.'
Ong said it also might improve relations between China and other countries.
As its economy has boomed over the past three decades, the mainland has been attracting more and more foreigners to visit or stay for various reasons, ranging from business trips and study to sight-seeing and economic migration.
The Beijing-based Fangyuan Magazine, affiliated with the Supreme People's Procuratorate, quoted figures provided by the Public Security Ministry as saying there were half a million foreigners living on the mainland at the end of 2009.
The number of people entering and exiting China has increased by this much every year since 1990