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Chinese province tightens rules for foreigners

March 30, 2011 11:01 IST

China's Guangdong province, which has high density of foreign nationals due to large amount of external trade, has tightened up rules for foreigners living and working there as part of efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

A provincial regulation, which takes effect on May 1, encourages people to report malpractice involving foreigners, such as illegal entry, overstaying, working without permits or conducting business without a license.

The regulation, approved by the provincial government on January 21, is the first of its kind concerning management of foreigners on the mainland.

The six-chapter, 67-article regulation stipulates that no one is allowed to provide accommodation for foreigners who have overstayed or are without a valid passport, official China Daily reported.

Property owners violating the rule will be fined three times the amount of the monthly rent they charge.

The regulation came as the booming province has attracted a growing number of foreigners seeking employment and trade opportunities.

More than 63,000 permanent foreign residents are registered in Guangdong and more than four million foreigners visit the province annually.

But the province has witnessed a growing number of illegal immigrants working or doing business.

To tackle the problem, the regulation stipulates that an employer of a foreigner without a valid work or residence permit will be fined of up to 3,000 yuan (USD 450).

Any firm or individual who provides accommodation or bank accounts to foreigners without valid travel documents, or whose visas have expired, will be fined up to 10,000 yuan.

Max J Zenglein, regional manager of the German Chamber of Commerce in China (South China), said the new provisions will not affect foreign companies in Guangdong.

"We still have to wait for some time to see whether the new rule will have any impact on foreigners' employment in the province," he told China Daily.

Zheng Fenming, director of the Scientific Development and Public Policy Center at the Guangdong Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, said that the new rule does not discriminate against foreigners.

Zheng said the number of foreigners who come to Guangdong to work and do business will continue to grow because of its rapid economic growth and myriad business opportunities.

According to the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court, one third of fraud cases between 2002 and 2008 involved foreigners.

Many companies in Guangdong have been found illegally using workers from Africa, the Middle East, Vietnam and Myanmar for cheap labour.


K J M Varma in Beijing
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