You Can Now Get Paid to Report Illegal Foreign Workers in Shenzhen

By Ryan Gandolfo, May 10, 2019

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Shenzhen authorities are now offering rewards for residents who report foreigners working illegally in the city. 

According to a May 9 post on the official Shenzhen Entry-Exit Bureau WeChat account, you can receive up to RMB500 for reporting a foreigner who: 1) illegally entered the country, 2) is illegally living in the country and 3) is illegally working in the country.

The reward system works like this: for every illegal foreigner you report who gets detained, you’ll receive RMB500, and for every illegal foreigner you report who gets fined, you will earn RMB300.

The Bureau refers to the expat wrongdoers as sanfei (roughly translated to ‘three wrongs’) foreigners. Further details on the ‘three wrongs’ are provided in the post, calling out expats who don’t have a proper residence permit, work and earn money in China without legal work identification or entered the country without an effective visa or other immigration documents.

Shenzhen Entry-Exit Bureau goes on to state how this type of foreigner harms society by impacting the workforce, giving rise to criminal problems as well as “severely impacting societal order.”

Foreigners caught entering China illegally will be detained for five to 10 days and be fined up to RMB10,000, while foreigners clocking in illegally will receive the same detention and be fined up to RMB20,000. Foreigners who overstay their visa or residence permit will also be viewed as illegal and can be fined up to RMB10,000 or detained for five to 10 days.

Chinese people who hire foreigners without the appropriate work documents are also culpable. People who hire illegal foreigners will receive a RMB10,000 fine, while those who take in foreigners who illegally entered the country will receive five to 10 days administrative detention along with a RMB5,000-20,000 fine.

Companies that sponsor illegal workers can expect fines of RMB5,000 per illegal employee, in accordance with the People’s Republic of China Criminal Law. Also, if companies are suspected of organizing illegal immigration into China, those found responsible will receive a two- to seven-year prison sentence as well as a fine. For more serious cases, the responsible party may receive a prison sentence from seven years to life.

While there are no hard and fast numbers on how many foreigners are working illegally in Shenzhen, many of the city’s training centers have a reputation for employing expats living in China on business or travel visas. 

We reached out to one expat currently teaching in Shenzhen to get his take on the latest announcement. When asked if he knew anyone working illegally in the city, he told us that he is aware of someone who was living in his building who was working on a tourist visa and is now “long gone.” When asked if he’d be worried about the new incentive scheme if he was working illegally, he had this to say: “Nah, it's just RMB500. I'll just keep my mouth shut about my visa,” before adding, “Plus, people like me.”

The Shenzhen Entry-Exit Bureau encourages people to report via its website, email, phone or mail, and states they will protect the privacy of any person reporting in. 

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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