China Exit-Entry Law May Be Enacted Any Day, But Not Available to the Public

State-controlled media is reporting that the draft Exit-Entry Administration Law being deliberated by the National People’s Congress may be enacted as early as “late June.” Unfortunately, the most recent draft has not been released for public review and comment.

Press reports in April were that a second draft of the law was being considered by the NPC. It may cover topics such as a new category of visas for international talent;  creation of a unified records system to track information regarding foreigners in China; and clarification of when work by foreigners is not authorized.

Global Times articles of June 20 and June 21 say the law may be finalized this month. Accordng to a separate PSB source in Beijing, however, passage of the law is not so imminent.

The NPC’s website still posts only the first draft of the law, which was released in December 2011. The PSB source confirms that the second draft of the law has not been released to the public.

It’s also not yet clear which provisions of the first draft of the law (e.g., fingerprinting of foreigners upon entering China and applying for residence permits; green card provisions; enhanced overstay and illegal employment penalties; etc.) remain in the second draft.

In my (insignificant) opinion, the NPC should increase transparency by releasing the second draft and allowing for a period of public comment. The NPC has reportedly increased its use of public comments and hearings over recent years. Chairman Wu Banguo has urged lawmakers to solicit advice from public and conduct in-depth research, and to find ways to enable the public to engage in the nation’s legislative processes. In 2008, the NPC Standing Committee announced that it would make public as standard procedure future drafts submitted to it for review and adoption.

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