The Chinese government has passed a new law governing the treatment of illegal foreign workers and those who assist them, according to news agency Xinhua. The new law not only deals strictly with illegal foreigners but also with those employers who hire them, leading to concerns that it could circumscribe the ability of defectors and those who now help them in the Sino-North Korean border region.
The Chinese government passed the new ‘PRC Immigration Management Law’ on June 30th during the 27th session of the 11th National People’s Congress. It will enter force on July 1st 2013.
According to the law, any employer who hires an illegal foreigner can expect a fine of 10,000RMB per person hired. In addition, the illegal foreigner is to be charged 5,000-20,000RMB and will spend 5 to 15 days in custody. Any person who introduces illegal workers to employers also faces a 5,000RMB fine.
This means that North Korean defectors themselves, defection brokers and friends who help in the process could all fall foul of the new law.
Ordinarily, North Koreans who defect but have no relatives in South Korea gather funds to get to South Korea by working illegally in China. Many who do not even have any intention of coming to South Korea also stay in China to earn money.
A source in China told Daily NK today, “This law which has been passed does not point directly towards defectors, but given that the defectors live in seclusion in China, this will affect them and will likely discourage support activities”.
“Recently, the three northeastern provinces [of China] have stepped up identification checks and other oversight, and if defectors are arrested in these areas they are forcibly repatriated to North Korea,” the source went on. “Defector support activities in these areas are going to be minimized.”
Advertisements, links with an http address and inappropriate language will be deleted.