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New Government Bureau Might Make Visas More Streamlined

By Mar 15, 2018 Business

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The State Council has presented a proposal at Beijing's ongoing Two Sessions for the creation of a "State Immigration Administration" that would deal with all immigration related issues, including visas. The brand-new government bureau would combine the Entry and Exit Administration with the China Immigration Inspection, responsible for Chinese nationals entry-exit needs, border control, refugees and foreigners living and working in China. In other words, visas issues would be dealt with by a single department of the Public Security Bureau.

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What does this mean? Bureaucratic reshuffling, mostly, but for the average expat punter, it could mean a more streamlined, uniform visa application/renewal process. Not easier, necessarily, but visa issues are often dealt with at a local level, with associated inconsistencies, lack of transparency, and occasionally multiple trips to offices that don't communicate with each other.

Edward Lehman of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told Sixth Tone that a single government bureau would act "like a one-stop shop for immigration related-issues." The proposal, scheduled to be voted on this Saturday, could mean more transparency, better implementation and ultimately, an easier overall process.

Maybe. Don't lose your visa agent's number just yet.

This comes on the heels of last year's visa regulation consolidation, which declared the State Administration of Foreign Expat Affairs (SAFEA) responsible for foreigner work permits. Previously, permits and certificates were issued by two separate government bodies. In the aftermath of that, we've seen a new rule implemented requiring visa renewal be started at least 30 days before expiry.

It's unclear if Wudaokou's pizza stalls will fall under the jurisdiction of the new State Immigration Administration.

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