A total of 377 foreigners were found to be working here last year without the necessary documentation, an official with the exit-entry administration said yesterday.
Most of the people simply lacked understanding of China's laws and regulations but some had deliberately tried to get around the system, he said.
Several foreigners had entered the country on tourist visas but then started working, some of them as entertainers in bars, he said.
Liu Zheng, a human resources consultant in Shanghai said: "Local firms must make sure their foreign employees have all the necessary visas and residence permits."
American Mark Ray, who arrived in Shanghai two years ago and now works in the city, said: "I don't know how the legal process works for expats in Shanghai.
"There are lots of foreigners and locals working illegally, so there should be more information for people, such as a website for expats," he said.
At the end of last year, more than 68,000 foreigners had registered for employment in Shanghai, while almost 62,000 had applied for residence permits, a source from the city's public security bureau said.
To help cater to the large numbers of foreigners, the Pudong district public security bureau yesterday opened a new exit-entry service center in the city.
The center will help deal with foreign visitors to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
As well as all basic services, the center accepts applications for L and F visas, residence permits and documentation relating to the birth of a child, a bureau official said.
It also processes residence endorsements for Taiwan people and handles travel documents for mainlanders seeking to go to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, he said.
Source: China Daily