Chinese Immigration Laws Provide Stricter Enforcement, Require HR Compliance
China’s Ministry of Public Security has announced significant updates to China’s master immigration laws, known as the “Exit-Entry Administration laws,” which will provide stricter enforcement of current rules and require the implementation of new regulations. Officials recommend that companies and clients working with Chinese businesses strive toward compliance as the Chinese Government rolls out the new official protocols.
The laws, scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013, are designed to increase border control, including the use of biometric data and a personal appearance requirement; implement new policies; and enhance law enforcement policies, including stiff fines and penalties for violations of new and current rules.
One existing rule that will be more strictly enforced is the exit-entry law. All foreign nationals in all visa categories are required to register with the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) within 24 of their arrival in China. Re-registration will be required for each new entry, and law enforcement will be designating spot-checks of foreign nationals to ensure compliance.
Certain nationalities will also be required to submit biometric data, including fingerprints, and/or personally appear at specific Chinese consular posts, as mandated by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As new policies roll out, Chinese host companies will be required to be compliant with the new rules. In response to the new laws, Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager of Knowledge Management for Pro-Link Global, offers the following action items to employers.
- Applicants should include time to travel to the Chinese consular post having jurisdiction over their U.S. residence. It is recommended that applicants arrive prior to the Consulate's standard hours of operation (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon) as queues could be significant. Applicants may submit proof of requiring expedited processing (such as airline itineraries and/or a letter from the company stating urgent business travel), but should expect visa processing times of at least four to five business days.
- Companies considering business travel for the above EEA nationals should confirm that each employee and any accompanying family members hold either a long-stay U.S. visa (e.g., H-1/H-4; L-1/L-2) or U.S. permanent residence card. An applicant's U.S. immigration status must be valid for re-entry beyond the last date of intended stay in China. "Z" visa applicants should also evidence valid U.S. immigration status at the time of application.
- Foreign nationals holding short-term visitor status (B-1/B-2 visas) will be ineligible to apply with U.S.-based Chinese consular posts.
Faulk further suggests that U.S. companies with ties to China work closely with their immigration supplier to determine current application and processing times, as they will likely be subject to change in coming months.