Public Notice  No. 17
Oct. 31, 1994
“Notice on Curbing Illegal Employment of Foreign Nationals in China,” by the Ministries of Public Security, Labor and Foreign Affairs
To the government of every province, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly controlled by the central government:
Recently, the number of foreign employees is ever-increasing with China’s economic development and opening up. Meanwhile, illegal employment has appeared in many places. Some overseas students work without authorization and illegally reside in China, and some hotels, restaurants, and dance halls illegally employ personnel from the Philippines and the Commonwealth of Independent States as servers or as companions to customers who come to sing, to drink and to dance, or even in pornography. Illegal employment has gone from being scattered and small-scale to organized and widespread. The number of illegal employees is increasing day by day. In 1993 alone, almost 800 foreign nationals were found illegally employed and expatriated. In Shenzhen in December, 223 instances of illegal labor were uncovered in one investigation.
It violates the Law on the Entry and Exit of Foreign Nationals for foreign nationals to work illegally in China. It not only is harmful to the public security, but also brings disorder to the labor market in China, thus infringing upon the interests of Chinese. Those foreign nationals who engage in regular labor compete with Chinese citizens for jobs. So it is not helpful to the stability of the labor market.
There are four main causes of illegal work. First, many work units, even press units, have an incorrect understanding of illegal employment of foreign nationals. They incorrectly believe that illegal employment is a normal phenomenon created by the reform and opening up policies, so they don’t support the public security and labor departments’ regulations, or even intervene in law enforcement. Second, some units that issue invitation letters and issue visas do not check strictly, and import laborers blindly. Third, some hotels, restaurants and recreational sites employ foreign nationals illegally in spite of laws and regulations in order to pursue economic benefits. Fourth, to get excessive profits, some units and persons import labor and introduce foreign nationals to work in China illegally.
In recent years, local public security bureaus have overcome difficulties, and the campaign against illegal employment has taken effect; however, there are still many problems existing. In order to ensure the healthy development of the Chinese labor market and provide more opportunities to Chinese citizens as well as maintain public security, illegal employment is banned in China. The details are as follows.
First, laws regulating foreign workers and prohibiting unauthorized employment should be strictly enforced. More and more foreign laborers will come to China and work here with the improvement in China’s economy. Since we have a large population and a labor supply that surpasses our needs, we need advanced technical and managerial expertise and foreign nationals who have special skills. This should be done by reporting and obtaining the approval of the higher administrative departments. No work unit or government department branch shall bring in foreign personnel or import laborers under the false guise of “exchange” or “training.” Hiring foreign nationals to provide general services such as servers or hostesses is also prohibited. Foreign nationals are also prohibited from providing massage to the opposite sex or performing in transsexual shows, etc.
The units that are authorized to issue visas shall strictly conform to Chinese regulations. They shall not send invitations to those foreign nationals who provide general services in China. Violations of the regulations will be strictly dealt with. In cases of serious violation, a unit’s right to issue invitation letters will be terminated and that party will face liability.
Second, management of foreign employees will be based on their identity and reason for coming to China. Anyone who comes to hold an office or work here shall first acquire work visas, except those personnel whose countries have signed the visa waiver agreements with China. Those who hold the travel, visitor’s, study abroad, transit, or flight attendant visa or those who are from the countries that have signed visa waiver agreements with China shall not work without permission, and any unit shall not employ them without authorization.
The following persons who need to be permanently stationed in China shall enter China with a Z visa and acquire a residence certificate, including a foreign chairman of board, vice chairman, managing director, deputy managing director, factory director, factory vice-manager of Sino-foreign JV, equity JV and wholly foreign owned entity (WFOE) and foreign chief representatives, representatives and deputy representatives of the resident representative offices of overseas companies. If another kind of visa is held, and it’s necessary to be permanently stationed in China, then in principle, the practice is that they need to exit and acquire the work visa and then re-enter China. In the special situation where the foreign national’s status must be changed, several relevant evidentiary materials such as the approval document, registration documents, business license, and representative certificate of the Sino-foreign JV, equity JV, WFOE or resident representative offices of overseas companies are required. After checking those documents, public security bureau may change the foreign national to a work visa and issue a residence certificate.
Third, those who do not acquire residence certificates shall leave the country on schedule, and shall not work in China. Where there’s a special need, they can apply for authorization to work in China after getting the approval of provincial or higher department in charge. If the labor and public security departments agree, the labor department can issue an employment permit, with public security department changing the type of visa and issuing a residence certificate.
Foreign students are not allowed to work illegally in China, and must leave after graduation on schedule.
Fourth, the departments of public security, labor and foreign affairs must cooperate, communicate and coordinate with each other to regulate the employment of foreign nationals in China. Propaganda shall be strengthened so that the public can know and obey the rules, and departments shall provide oversight. The labor department shall check and issue the employment permit by strictly conforming to Chinese regulations. The public security department shall investigate and deal with the legal employment of foreign nationals in coordination with the departments of labor and foreign affairs. In particular, intermediary units and persons that illegally introduce work to foreign nationals shall be harshly treated, with any illegal gains confiscated. Where the situation is serious and consistent defiance of regulations exists despite prior warnings, harsher penalties will be carried out. The campaign against illegal employment has been very effective this year. Anyone who is found being illegally employed shall be promptly repatriated back to his mother country. The employing work unit is liable for the fees needed to repatriate illegal employees.
Governments in every province, autonomous region and municipalities directly controlled by the central government shall require their departments of public security, labor and foreign affairs to formulate detailed measures and strengthen supervision and inspections, as well as provide funds for the oversight of foreign workers.
公安部 劳动部 外交部