The Chinese government unveiled plans to set up a new streamlined immigration bureau that would process both exit-entry applications for citizens and visas for foreigners, according to a new policy proposed earlier this week at the Two Sessions.
"The proposed administration will be responsible for coordinating and formulating immigration policies and their implementation, border control, managing foreigners' stay. It will also take the lead in coordinating measures to deal with foreigners who illegally enter, stay or work in China, and the repatriation of illegal immigrants.
"The administration will also provide exit and entry services for Chinese nationals on private affairs and engage in international cooperation in the field of immigration, among others."
Under the proposal, the Ministry of Public Security would set up a state immigration administration that would merge the duties of the current Exit and Entry Administration and China Immigration Inspection.
The proposal also notes that with an increasing number of foreigners living and working in China, new requirements must be raised for "immigration administration and services." Since 1980, the number of foreigners employed in the Middle Kingdom has skyrocketed from 10,000 to 900,000 (as of 2016).
An expert told Sixth Tone that the new bureau will "consolidate all immigration-related information in a centralized database, making it more readily accessible to authorities."
Delegates are scheduled to vote to approve the new bureau along with a series of other sweeping reforms later this month.