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Residence permits urged for foreigners
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-31 01:38

Guangzhou municipal government is being urged to introduce a temporary residence permit system for its growing number of foreign workers.

He Zhihong, a deputy of Guangzhou Municipal People's Congress, said she and 10 other deputies have jointly proposed a certification system requiring foreign personnel staying in the city for more than a month to apply for temporary residence permits.

The proposal is now under discussion and review at the on-going plenary session of Guangzhou Municipal People's Congress.

A rapidly increasing number of foreigners are entering the province as it opens up more widely. Unexpectedly, existing laws and regulations have turned out to be far from enough in managing the situation.

"In the upcoming years, international workers will need to use both their passports and temporary resident certificates for employment, study and to rent houses in the city," He said.

The move should improve managing the ever-growing numbers of foreigners moving into the area as the Chinese and local economy grows in sophistication.

Currently, domestic residents from outside the city have been required to apply for temporary resident permits to stay in the city.

But foreign personnel haven't had to bother with such paperwork. Guangzhou has at least 150,000 foreigners living within its borders.

The proposal comes in the wake of an increasing number of foreigners who were found to have been involved in criminal activities or have overstayed their visas and violated Chinese laws and regulations in the southern Chinese metropolis. Some are still under investigation.

A few of the overseas personnel were even found to have been involved in murders, kidnapping, drug trafficking, rapes, fraud and other serious crimes in the city, He said.

And according to the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Public Security, the number of criminal cases in which foreigners were involved has witnessed growth of about 10 per cent annually since 2000.

The entire province is now estimated to have more than 350,000 residents from overseas living here, including compatriots from neighbouring Hong Kong and Macao and Taiwan.

The province's foreigners mainly include senior experts and management personnel and their family members, business representatives, and refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

Foreigners mainly work and live in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai special economic zones, Dongguan, Jiangmen, Foshan, Zhongshan, Huizhou and other prosperous cities in the Pearl River Delta, which borders Hong Kong and Macao.

With China's opening up drive advancing further, He predicted the number of foreigners arriving in Guangzhou and the rest of Guangdong Province will continue to rise in the next few years.

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