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New rules lay foundation for migrant law

By Shen Fei (Global Times)

08:22, July 05, 2012

On Saturday, the National People's Congress Standing Committee passed the preliminary stage of a law on exit and entry administration. It is of great significance to the whole of society, especially the strengthening of foreign-related management services.

The promulgating of the new law attracted foreign media attention. They are concerned about the changes to the law on exit and entry administration. But it is one-sided for foreign media to say that the law will make foreigners' situation more difficult. Actually, the law will improve the management services provided by the Chinese government instead of restricting foreigners.

In terms of its content, the key provisions of the new law concern the entry and exit issues of foreigners. The new law could be seen as the initial form of an immigration law.

Nowadays, resident foreigners represent approximately 0.04 percent of China's population, which is far below the proportion in other major countries. As China opens its doors wider, more and more foreigners are coming to China for traveling, living, visit, and work. This is the inevitable result of reform and opening-up and economic globalization.

Every country closely involved in international exchanges faces the problem of strengthening legal provisions. Like others, China is standardizing the management of immigration. Unlike other countries, large numbers of foreign visitors appeared after China opened up to the outside world in the 1980s.

As the number of foreign immigrants increases and their reasons for entry diversify, a series of problems related to illegal immigration, residence, and employment are looming. To solve these, we urgently need a law on exit and entry management that can adapt to the needs of the situation.

The new law abides by the principle of equal emphasis on services and management. It further improves services to foreigners who stay legally, and improves management of the exit and entry system, as well as increasing the investigation of and penalties for illegal entry, residence, or work.

The legislation also learns from the experiences of other countries. It strengthens immigration source control and ensures that no one can cross the border without permission.

Currently some companies issue fake certificates or invitation letters for foreigners to obtain work visas on false pretenses. Explicit provisions have been put into practice which place an obligation on the companies who issue the invitation letters.

Moreover, the adoption of internationally accepted practices can prohibit foreigners engaged in activities incompatible with their type of visa from entering.

Illegal employment is one of the main incentives of illegal immigration and illegal residence. The new law clearly presents suggestions on the formulation of a guidance list for foreigners' work in China. It defines the specific industries and posts that are prohibited to, encouraged or restricted for foreigners.

There are significant limitations in relying solely on the government management model. Therefore, the new law makes full use of social resources to address the problems of illegal immigration, illegal residence, and illegal employment which need the efforts of both the government and the public.

Companies or institutes who employ foreign workers or recruit foreign students will become collaborative regulatory authorities. Simultaneously, advanced technologies such as biometrics can effectively prevent the fraudulent use of other identification to re-enter China.

Many countries have similar provisions for managing immigration, in terms of migration management, which is worth learning from. The new law has adopted the existing provisions used by other countries. There is no need to over-interpret it. The real purpose of the law is to promote opening-up and international exchange as well as to facilitate the movement of talent.


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