Bloomberg is reporting that the Chinese government is planning to create a new agency to regulate immigration. The agency would be formed by “merging and expanding the ministry’s border control and exit-entry administration bureaus and could be set up before year-end.” The story cites as its only source “people with knowledge of the plans.”
The government sorely needs an agency with a mandate to manage immigration. In particular, an immigration agency is needed to develop and manage a transparent and efficient immigration law system. Currently, immigration responsibilities are scattered across numerous departments–not just the border control and exit-entry administration bureaus, but also the ministry of foreign affairs, human resources and social security bureau, state administration for foreign expert affairs, local commerce committees, and others. These departments not only fail to cooperate but also “compete for turf and influence,” marring policy making and implementation, according to Professor Frank Pieke. With one agency taking the lead, it would be possible to streamline the process of granting visas and residence permits through a system with unified procedures and clear interpretations of the rights and obligations of foreign nationals, says Wang Huiyao. Also the agency could train up a professional civil service, according to Professor Shen Haimei. The agency could also be given a mission to develop an administrative culture that encompasses both enforcement and customer service to stakeholders (e.g., PRC work units that recruit foreign talent, PRC citizens seeking to be reunited with family members, and foreign nationals).