China proposes fingerprinting of foreign workers

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Chinese legislators are considering introducing new visa rules that would require fingerprinting of foreigners wanting to work or study in China. The draft law, which proposes to give the public security authority power to fingerprint foreigners "whenever they deem it necessary", has been submitted to legislators in Beijing.

Yang Huanming, vice-minister of public security, told a bimonthly session of lawmakers discussing the possible changes that fingerprints and other biometric information were "effective measures" to expedite arrivals and departures at immigration and customs.

The new rules would apply to all immigrants applying for residence visas, which cover stays of six months or longer. They would also affect all foreign workers, students and visitors who plan to stay in the country for more than six months.

Many countries including the US and the UK routinely fingerprints foreign visitors as part of the visa application process.

China's National People's Congress will meet in March to decide on the legislation.

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