Sichuan cracks down on illegal foreign workers

2016-06-14 00:51:23 GMT2016-06-14 08:51:23(Beijing Time) Global Times

Southwest China's Sichuan Province on Sunday launched a 4-month crackdown on foreigners who illegally immigrate, reside and seek employment in the province in an effort to safeguard public security, said an announcement published on the provincial government's official website.

The announcement stated that local authorities vowed to strike a blow to illegal immigration, housing and employment of foreigners during the campaign, which will last through September 20. The public is required to report such issues to police, while employers who illegally hire foreigners will be fined up to 100,000 yuan ($15,180).

Neither local police nor the provincial Entry and Exit Administration Bureau could be reached for comment as of press time.

Sichuan Province is not the first region to carry out a crackdown on foreigners who commit the "three illegals" of illegally entering, living or working in China.

Border police in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region repatriated 123 illegal immigrants from Vietnam in February, after they illegally entered China with plans to harvest sugarcane, China News Service reported.

"Since 2008, the number of illegal immigrants to China - especially those from neighboring Southeast Asian countries - has significantly increased, which poses potential threats to China's public security," Liu Guofu, an expert on immigration law at the Beijing Institute of Technology, told the Global Times on Monday.

Over 51.9 million foreigners entered and left China in 2015, while around 62,000 violated the Exit and Entry Law, the Ministry of Public Security's Exit and Entry Administration Bureau reported in January.

"Under the current Exit and Entry Administration laws, foreigners illegally staying or working in China will  only receive administrative detention, not criminal punishment," Liu said.

Some lawmakers and political advisers, notably National People's Congress deputy Zhu Lieyu, believe that stricter punishments for illegal entrants should be enacted in China.

"Enacting criminal punishment cannot fundamentally alter the situation. China should make more efforts to cooperate with neighboring countries on border control," Liu said.

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