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China Plans Rules to Curb Illegal Foreign Workers, Xinhua Says

China is reviewing amendments to its immigration laws that would make it more difficult for foreign workers to find jobs in the world’s second-biggest economy without government approval.

A draft of the amendments would require foreign nationals to obtain work permits, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Foreign nationals suspected of having entered the country without authorization, of having overstayed visas or of working illegally may be detained, repatriated and barred from returning to China for five years, according to the Dec. 26 report.

China, being a nation with a large supply of labor, needs to “strictly control” the entry of “ordinary” foreign workers while it ushers in “high-end talent,” Xinhua reported, without citing anyone. In a separate Dec. 26 report, Xinhua cited Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning as saying that instances of foreigners entering, staying and working in China illegally have been “prominent” in recent years.

Lawmakers conducted their first review of the amendments to the laws governing entry by foreigners and departures Chinese nationals on Dec. 26, according to Xinhua. It didn’t say when the changes might be passed into law.

Foreigners that have made “outstanding” contributions to China’s economic and social development can apply for permanent residence rights, which requires approval by the public security ministry, according to Xinhua.

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