Lawmakers have said that more needs to be done to tackle the problem of an increasing number of foreigners who are illegally living and working in China.
According to the Global Times, National People’s Congress deputy Zhu Lieyu has called for stricter punishment on foreigners committing the “three illegals” of illegally entering, staying or working in China.
Speaking to journalists, Zhu said “The ‘three illegals’ should be listed as a crime and should attract stricter punishment. Some of these foreigners have occasionally caused trouble in civil society.”
Zhu is reported to have introduced a bill containing measures to better manage the problem, with one of the non-Communist political parties supporting moves towards enhanced supervision over visa agents and a speedier mechanism for repatriating illegal foreigners.
Data from the last Chinese census, carried out in 2010, revealed that there were just shy of 600,000 foreign nationals living in China. A drop in the ocean when compared to the 1.3 billion strong Chinese population.
At the moment the maximum penalty faced by those who illegally enter or stay in China is a fine of up to 10,000 yuan or 15 days detention. Those found illegally working can be fined up to 20,000 yuan.
The move comes just months after a CCTV report called for the easing of measures to make it easier for foreigners to qualify for permanent residence in a bid to attract overseas talent and investment. Presumably they’re referring to the highly educated and well monied types.
Much of the rhetoric appears aimed at the foreign population residing in Guangdong province. “Guangzhou has a large number of foreigners who have illegally entered, stayed or worked. While those who work illegally can affect the local job market, some are even involved in criminal activities such as drug-dealing which could affect social stability.”
Just last month, authorities in Shenzhen launched a raid on an outdoor rave which saw 50 foreigners detained on charges of drug use.