China's new immigration agency reflects openness to foreign talent: analyst

Updated 2018-03-21 11:29:01

New agency reflects openness to foreign talent: analyst

The establishment of an immigration agency could better coordinate China's management on immigration work and better guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of foreign talent, observers noted.

China plans to set up a State immigration administration under the Ministry of Public Security, considering the increasing number of foreigners working and living in China which raised new requirements on immigration administration and services, according to a document on an institutional reform plan of the State Council, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The proposed agency will be responsible for coordinating, formulating and enforcing immigration policies, border control, administering foreigners' stay, managing refugees and nationalities, taking the lead in administering foreigners who illegally enter, stay or work in China, and the repatriation of illegal immigrants.

The establishment of the immigration administration, which experts have supported for the past decade, is expected to consolidate and eliminate the overlapping functions of departments to improve work efficiency, Liu Guofu, an expert on immigration law at the Beijing Institute of Technology, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Wang Huiyao, president of the think tank Center for China and Globalization (CCG), told the Global Times that the agency is needed to cope with globalization and attract global talent rather than strictly managing foreigners.

China's demographic dividend is fading as the country becomes an aging society, and the establishment of the new body will help the country transform the demographic dividend into talent dividends by luring more international elites, said Wang, adding that with a shift from attracting investment to introducing brilliant minds, China is capable of absorbing more global talent amid fierce competition.

The CCG says the agency reflects China's openness to worldwide talent, as the fierce battle to attract international talent compels China to be more open, flexible and confident in creating a more open environment, CCG's website said.

It also helps China further engage in international cooperation, improve China's international image and have a greater say in the international immigration sector, CCG said.

Zhang Jianguo, head of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, said more than 900,000 foreigners were working in the Chinese mainland in 2016, a significant increase from less than 10,000 in the 1980s, Xinhua reported.

A total of 1,576 foreigners were granted Chinese permanent residency in 2016, according to Xinhua.

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