A new law is currently being drafted that will shorten the minimum stay for foreigners who come to China to work to 90 days. Residence permits will range from 180 days to five years, reports Shanghai Daily:
For foreigners holding visas with a maximum stay of 180 days, the holders should hand in documents to government departments above county-level to apply for a longer stay.
The draft law also allows local governments of bordering regions to promulgate exit and entry regulations in line with agreements signed between China and neighboring countries.
The draft law was designed with the aim of curbing the illegal entry, stay and employment of foreigners and stipulating harsher punishments for people who enter or exit the country illegally.
Since foreigners need to go through screening again when they want their residency permits renewed, the new rule will raise the frequency of checks, legislators said.
As of the end of last year, there were about 220,000 foreigners legally working on China’s mainland, about 37 percent of the legal foreign residents. The number of foreign visitors to the country has been increasing by 10 percent each year since 2000.
The Ministry of Public Security said they seized more than 20,000 foreigners across the country last year who were illegally staying or working.
Here’s what experts interviewed by the SCMP said:
“By shortening the period a foreigner can stay in China, it is easier for the authorities to control foreigners here,” said Ong Yew-kim, a visiting professor at China University of Political Science and Law. “It will be easier for the authorities to send foreigners they don’t like out of the country.”
Liu Guofu , a law expert from the Beijing Institute of Technology, said the authorities were stepping up management of foreigners with the draft law, and stringent permit approval procedures might be introduced for foreigners deemed more prone to violating laws.
“But foreigners who are here for longer-term assignments can still apply for a longer permit provided that they have met the criteria.”
Liu said a foreigner needed to apply for a work visa first and then a residential certificate to be allowed to stay on the mainland.