The Chinese government has issued regulations increasing fines and penalties for both individuals and employers for unauthorized work and visa overstays.
The regulations implement the new Entry-Exit Administration Law issued by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in December 2012. The law takes effect July 1, 2013.
The regulations provide further details on what constitutes unauthorized work and overstays.
The regulations define unauthorized work as the following:
- Foreigners working in China without a valid work permit and residence permit (unless they obtained an exemption).
- Foreigners working for companies that didn’t sponsor their work permits.
- Foreigners working in a location other than the site where their work-permit sponsor is registered.
- Foreign students working without authorization or beyond the scope of school-related campus work.
The regulations define overstays as the following:
- Foreigners who stay in China beyond the allowed duration indicated on their visa or residence permit.
- Foreigners who enter China with a visa waiver and stay beyond the allowed period.
- Foreigners who travel or stay outside of the areas where they are allowed to visit or stay.
The regulations also lay out changes to existing visa categories:
- M visas will cover business and trade activities, which are currently covered under the F category. F visas will be limited to scientific, educational, cultural, health, sports and other noncommercial activities.
- R visas will be available for professional workers and senior-level managers. R1 visas will designate long-term stays of up to five years. R2 visas will have a limit of six months.
Foreigners will be required to provide biometric data when applying for residence permits, be subject to body searches when entering or exiting China, and be detained during investigations of immigration-related violations.
The law also imposes increased reporting requirements, penalties and fines on employers found to be in violation of immigration law. The regulations state that the employer or sponsor will be held liable for deportation costs if the individual cannot bear the costs himself.
We inform the foreign employees of all the relevant China regulations before and upon their first entry to China to build up their awareness, said Grace Huyan, human resources director for the Shanghai Centre, a prominent office, hotel and entertainment complex in Shanghai.
“With support of our e-HR system, we keep all data related to the foreign employees’ employment, visa and residence permit in our database,” she told SHRM Online. The relevant HR staff reminds the foreign employee to renew their visa/work and resident permit at least one month in advance of their credential due date. “If after the reminder the individual still delays the credential renewal process, we would ask the relevant individual to pay for the full penalty on the overstaying. Information sharing and data management are the key words.”
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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