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The New Chinese Exit-Entry Law

On June 30th 2012, the Chinese legislature adopted a new Law of the People’s Republic of China on Exit-Entry Administration (“the New Law”). It replaces the PRC Law on Administration of the Exit and Entry of Citizens and the PRC Law on Administration of the Exit and Entry of Foreigners which were issued in 1985. On July 1st, 2013, the new regulation took effect. As a foreigner in China, how will this new law impact you?

 The new “Exit-Entry Administration Law”

 For foreigners, the New Law will impose stricter control over their entry, residence and work in China. The new “Exit-Entry Administration Law” is strictly enforced. Penalties on both employers and employees for violation of the new Exit-Entry Administration Law will be imposed.

The New Law distinguishes between the categories of residence of foreigners into two categories, i.e. residing in China for work purposes or for non-work purposes. The validity period of a residence permit can be 180 days to 5 years for non-work purposes and 90 days to 5 years for work purposes. Foreigners working in China shall obtain work permits and residence permits for work purposes. No Chinese entities or individuals are allowed to hire foreigners without holding work permits and residence permits to that effect.

What constitutes “ illegal work in China ”

 The New Law, for the first time, expressly defines the term “illegally working in China”.

  • Working in China without having obtained a work permit and a residence permit for work purposes;
  • Working in China outside the scope stated in his/her work permit; and
  • Overseas students working outside the scope or time limitation, breaching the administrative regulations on taking part-time jobs while studying at school.


Monetary penalties

For a foreigner working in China illegally, the New Law will impose more severe punishments than in the past on both the foreigner and the employer who hired them: A foreigner can be subject to a penalty from RMB 5.000 to RMB 20.000. In severe cases, the foreigner can even be detained for 5-15 days in addition to the penalty. An employer hiring foreigners illegally can be subject to a penalty of RMB 10.000 per person with a cap of RMB 100.000 in total. Any illegal income resulting from their employment can be confiscated.


If a foreigner is proven to be working in China illegally, the authority is entitled to repatriate such foreigner to his/her home country. If a foreigner is repatriated, he/she can be restricted from re-entering China for a period of one to five years, depending on the decision of the authorities.

INS Services – Work Permit 

At INS we offer help with Work Permits in order to apply and obtain both work permits and resident permits for you and your family members.

The above-mentioned new rules will be applicable to foreigners who work and stay in China on a permanent and full-time basis.

For foreigners who visit China on a temporary basis or perform services for projects, your case will need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Our specialized team at INS will be very delighted to advise you on your case.

Contact us

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DATE November 14, 2014
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