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Tighter rules to prevent illegal emigration
By Fu Jin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-17 21:47

China's labour authorities have vowed to toughen up their regulation of organizations responsible for sending Chinese workers abroad and prevent illegal emigration.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security said it is now working with the public security and foreign affairs ministries to combat illegal emigration.

Vice-Minister of Labour and Social Security Wang Dongjin made the remarks on Tuesday at a national meeting held here. The number of Chinese people working abroad has increased in recent years.

"As China has expanded its ties with the outside world, more and more foreigners are seeking skilled workers in our country," said Wang.

Statistics showed that 525,000 Chinese labourers have worked in other economies by the end of 2003.

There are currently more than 330 intermediary bodies whose business involves sending Chinese workers abroad. All of them obtain business licenses from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

Officials from the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they will take an increasingly cautious approach to sending workers abroad amid the serious situation of illegal emigration and deteriorating global security.

Li Junjie, an exit-entry official with the Ministry of Public Security urged all local public security organs working in this field to interview every applicant intending to work overseas.

He said only the legal export of labour can benefit both China and the importing counties.

Li stressed that cracking down on illegal emigration is an important job for the Chinese Government.

In 2003, about 26,000 Chinese people illegally entering other countries were repatriated, with a further 12,000 being sent back to China in the first half of this year.

China also suffers from illegal immigration. A total of 18,773 foreigners illegally entered and stayed in China in 2003.

Illegal intermediaries have been blamed for such phenomenon, according to Li.

This year, a three-month campaign launched by the Ministry of Public Security and six other ministerial departments cracked down on hundreds of such illegal intermediaries.

Li added that these criminals take advantage of people trying to go abroad, charging them exorbitant fees, forging certificates, and even colluding with snakeheads or human smuggling gangs to organize illegal emigration, said Li.

"Such activities severely disturb the normal order of China's exit and entry administration," he said. Zhong Ruiming, a director with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said overseas labourers should learn to better protect themselves as more Chinese people working abroad become terrorist targets or are killed in accidents.

He said the Chinese Government is working hard to establish a comprehensive mechanism to protect overseas Chinese workers.

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