China’s new immigration law

Today 1 July 2013 the new law came into effect. The Beijing Public security Bureau invited me this morning for the “launch ceremony”. As it turned out, I was again “poster boy” on one of their posters. Was good to meet again some of the people we know there.

For some initial comments see:
Some highlights:
– harsher punishments for foreigners who illegally enter, live or work in China. For the first time, the law would detain foreigners between five and 15 days if they were caught residing or working illegally in mainland China.
– Illegal migrants would now also be fined 5,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan and face deportation. Their employers would be fined up to 100,000 yuan per individual illegal employee.
– The new law also aims to reform the green card system, which since 2004 allows foreigners to permanently reside in mainland China. By the end of 2011, only 4,752 people have been granted green cards, called the “hardest to get in the world” by the Southern Metropolis Daily last year. I am a Green Card holder myself.
– About 594,000 foreigners live in China, according to the 2010 national census; most come from South Korea, the US and Japan.
– The new law could also ease visa hassles for foreign same-sex couples in China, according to one London-based law firm.
Not mentioned much: to get a work permit one could now need an official and certified criminal record. How that will work is a big question.

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