For­eign­ers get big­ger fines in exit- en­try law

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By YU RAN in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­

Shang­hai fined and pun­ished more than 500 for­eign­ers for il­le­gally stay­ing in the coun­try af­ter China im­posed its new exit-en­try law in July, ac­cord­ing to statis­tics pro­vided by the city’s im­mi­gra­tion in­spec­tion depart­ment.

From July 1 through Aug 10, 534 for­eign­ers had il­le­gally en­tered or over­stayed their visas.

More than 380 of them were found by the bor­der in­spec­tion depart­ment at Shang­hai Pudong In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

That is an in­crease of 150 per­cent on the same pe­riod the pre­vi­ous year, the fig­ures showed.

A for­eigner who stayed il­le­gally in Shang­hai for 33 days was fined 10,000 yuan ($ 1,630) by the city’s im­mi­gra­tion in­spec­tion au­thor­ity on Aug 2, the big­gest fine is­sued in the city and the max­i­mum al­lowed un­der the law that took ef­fect on July 1.

“The rea­son for the mas­sive in­crease of il­le­gal stay cases was un­clear, and our sug­ges­tion for for­eign visa hold­ers in China is to ap­ply for ex­ten­sions on time to avoid be­ing fined,” said Yang Xiajie, a staff mem­ber of the Shang­hai Gen­eral Sta­tion of Exit and En­try Fron­tier In­spec­tion.

The new exit-and-en­try law stip­u­lates stiffer pun­ish­ment for for­eign­ers who il­le­gally en­ter, live or work in China, and states they will be fined for each day they over­stay with the to­tal amount not ex­ceed­ing 10,000 yuan. The max­i­mum fine un­der the pre­vi­ous law was 5,000 yuan.

Un­der the new law, the short­est work­ing visa for for­eign­ers is 90 days, and a res­i­dence cer­tifi­cate is valid for from 180 days to five years.

For­eign visa hold­ers with a max­i­mum stay of 180 days have to ap­ply for an ex­ten­sion seven days be­fore their visa ex­pires, and the ex­ten­sion should not ex­ceed the orig­i­nally per­mit­ted du­ra­tion.

“If the reg­u­la­tion is fairly equal for ev­ery for­eigner with­out fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion of their po­si­tion and so­cial sta­tus in China, we are will­ing to ac­cept the change, which seems to be quite high pun­ish­ment for over­stay­ing a visa,” said June Seah, a pro­ducer from Malaysia who has worked in the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try in Shang­hai for six years on a work visa.

Seah said the new law may of­fer a les­son for those for­eign res­i­dents who have not reg­u­larly paid at­ten­tion to the date their visa ex­pires.

For­eign res­i­dents have also ob­tained some ben­e­fits from the new law.

In the past month, Shang­hai ap­proved 60,000 tem­po­rary en­try per­mits of less than 15 days for emer­gency pur­poses and pro­cessed 7,000 over­seas tourists who could stay in Shang­hai for up to 72 hours with­out a visa, ac­cord­ing to statis­tics re­leased by the lo­cal im­mi­gra­tion in­spec­tion depart­ment.

“The up­graded exit- en­try law is a sign China is try­ing to set up a mor­ereg­u­lated le­gal sys­tem to deal with the rapidly in­creas­ing amount of for­eign im­mi­grants who choose to live or work in the coun­try in re­cent years,” said Ren Yuan, a pro­fes­sor at Fu­dan Univer­sity’s School of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Pub­lic Pol­icy.

Ren added that stan­dard­iz­ing the pun­ish­ments and of­fer­ing more con­ve­nient visa poli­cies are both use­ful meth­ods for China to set up global stan­dards in for­eign im­mi­gra­tion cases.

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