NIA Holds Press Conference on Main Data of Immigration Administration in the First Half of 2021
Venue: Beijing Rui'an Hotel
Date: July 30, 2021
Released by: Chen Jie, NIA spokesperson and director general of the Department of Policy and Legal Affairs, NIA
On July 30, National Immigration Administration (NIA) held a regular press conference. Chen Jie, NIA spokesperson and director general of the Department of Policy and Legal Affairs, hosted the press conference. He briefed the public on the main data and results of immigration administration from January to June 2021, and answered questions from the media.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media. Welcome to this press conference!
As scheduled, I will brief you on the main data and results of immigration administration in the first half of 2021, and take your questions.
First of all, I would like to brief you on the main data and results of immigration administration in the first half of this year.
Since the beginning of this year, NIA has resolutely followed the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, firmly maintained the country's political safety, and made overall arrangements to maintain stability of ports and borders, prevent imported COVID-19 cases, and serve socio-economic development. Immigration administration authorities at all levels and their police officers have faithfully performed their duties and missions in the new era, and successfully completed various tasks in the first half of 2021, contributing to the progress made in immigration administration so far this year. From January to June, exit-entry ports across the country checked a total of 66,973,000 passengers, and inspected 7,527,000 vehicles (flights and vessels), including 111,000 cargo flights, representing an annual increase of 189.5 percent and 35 percent compared with the figures in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Immigration administration authorities across the country processed 1,224,000 entry and exit documents for mainland residents, issued 3,179,000 endorsements for travelers to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and issued 380,000 stay and residence permits for foreigners in China. All the above-mentioned data demonstrate that, while implementing regular pandemic prevention and control measures and strictly preventing imported COVID-19 cases, all immigration administration authorities have performed their functions and effectively ensured continuous, safe and orderly exchanges between China and other countries, and served to establish a dual circulation development pattern in which domestic and foreign markets complement and reinforce one another, with the domestic market as the mainstay.
Specifically, NIA has always put efforts to prevent inbound transmission as the top priority as the fight against COVID-19 is intensified and measures to control imported cases tightened. First, NIA intensified border control by strengthening pandemic response at the borders and on the frontline, stepping up efforts to establish a pandemic response system at the borders, setting up police units, duty points, second-line checkpoints along the frontlines, creating organizations for joint prevention efforts, fully implementing border controls, and effectively stopping illegal border crossings and cutting off relevant channels.
Second, it made dynamic adjustments to immigration policies in response to the epidemic development, adhered to the no-exit policy under non-emergent or non-essential circumstances, and tightened examination and issuance of entry and exit documents for mainland residents. A total of 335,000 ordinary passports were issued in the first six months nationwide, mainly for overseas study, employment and business purposes, while the number of issuance was only 2 percent of the same period in 2019. In the meantime, port visas and visa-free entry and transit policies for incoming travelers from medium-risk and high-risk overseas areas were suspended. NIA strictly executed the policy to allow cargo conveyance while tightening restrictions on human mobility, conducted screening and release of inbound cargo flights at designated areas, and restricted personnel from embarking on and crew members from disembarking from inbound and outbound vessels, and restricted these vessels from berthing alongside other vessels under non-essential circumstances for epidemic control.
Third, NIA strengthened joint efforts with local governments and departments to further epidemic responses, optimized early warning services using big data analysis, informed the customs, public health authorities and local joint prevention and control mechanism teams in a timely manner about information of personnel from high-risk areas, and facilitated national epidemic response with screening of 4,586 confirmed and suspected cases as well as 343,000 close contacts.
In terms of furthering reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services, and taking proactive measures to facilitate the creation of a new development pattern, NIA organized activities to serve the people in a practical manner. On the one hand, it introduced 16 policies and measures to spur the development of shipping enterprises so as to help enterprises resume work and production and drive local economic development, promoted facilitation measures in ten aspects initially rolled out for the shipping hub building of Yangtze River Delta region to sea ports nationwide, and initiated the border inspection model featuring "cooperative inspection and release after one check" at land ports in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. Meanwhile, NIA further cut back on fees for the benefit of the people by cancelling the fees for having ordinary passports noted and providing free-of-charge services to apply for exit-entry documents for three groups of people including fishery workers from the mainland working on fishing vessels from Hong Kong and Macao, small-scale traders from Zhuhai and Macao, and cross-border cultivators from Shenzhen. On the other hand, to make it more convenient for people to acquire documents and handle affairs, NIA introduced six measures to facilitate the elderly to apply for exit-entry documents and provided a "green channel" for senior applicants without the need for online pre-application. Efforts have been stepped up to promote easy applications for exit-entry documents, and provide smart and convenient administrative services. The China Immigration Service Hotline has been launched to offer 24/7 Chinese and English bilingual consulting services regarding immigration administration policies for Chinese and foreigners, with up to 99.5 percent of problems resolved in the first call, effectively improving the sense of happiness and gains of the people.
NIA always makes the maintenance of political security its top priority when it comes to cracking down on cross-border criminal activities and fully maintaining national security and border stability, so as to strictly prevent and severely combat the infiltration and sabotage activities of hostile forces inside and outside the country. With rigorous frontline inspections along the borders, strict border management and control, and improved criminal investigation, immigration administration authorities at all levels have severely cracked down on criminal activities of various types. In the first half of this year, a total of 8,419 criminal cases of obstructing national border administration were established nationwide, and over 21,000 suspects were arrested, up by 220 percent and 271 percent respectively year-on-year. In total, immigration administration authorities reported seizures of 31,000 foreigners for illegal immigration / residence / employment, 85,000 illegal exit-entry travelers, 5.63 tons of various narcotics and 352.25 tons of precursor chemicals with 578 drug cases cracked and 40 drug abuse and trafficking dens destroyed, and 1,430 firearms of various types. A large number of smuggling cases were cracked, all of which have actively contributed to the protection of the lives and property of the people and the maintenance of national security and the stability at borders and ports.
That's all. Now you are welcome to raise questions on today's topic and please inform us of the name of your media before raising questions.
[Xinhua News Agency]:
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, some have reported difficulties in applying for passports and other exit-entry documents. You mentioned just now that this is a border control policy introduced in response to the pandemic situation. I would like to ask when the policy will be relaxed?
Thanks for your question. In 2021, the continuous spread of coronavirus abroad, particularly the emerging new variants, has posed major challenges to global pandemic prevention and control. In compliance with the unified arrangement of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, NIA has implemented a series of strict policies and tight measures to prevent the spread of the virus through borders to protect the health and safety of the people and effectively prevent imported cases, achieving remarkable results. Temporarily suspending the issuance of ordinary passports and other exit-entry documents for non-emergency or non-essential purposes is part of that. Applicants without emergent or essential needs to go abroad are recommended to cancel or postpone their travel. We also carried out work in a case-by-case manner instead of using the "one size fits all" approach. For those applications about oversea study, work or business, we will issue exit-entry documents after review in a timely manner. In particular, we will give priority to those Chinese citizens who need to enter and exit for global pandemic prevention and control efforts and business resumption by proceeding with the approval of their applications first and offering them 24-hour urgent document issuance services, to support global pandemic prevention and control efforts with concrete actions and promote economic and production recovery.
Currently, COVID-19 continues to rage overseas with new variants spreading rapidly in many countries in the second quarter. We face a daunting task in the prevention of inbound transmission. I would like to ask what new measures NIA will take in the second half of the year in this regard.
As COVID-19 rebounds overseas, we face a grave challenge in the prevention of inbound transmission. NIA closely follows the global pandemic trends and will constantly make adjustments to our policies and measures based on previous work experience so as to further strengthen the defense against imported cases.
First, we will continue to strengthen control of ports and borders. We will check and inspect key flights at designated areas at airports, take measures in the control of personnel from embarking on and crew members from disembarking from inbound and outbound vessels and the control of these vessels from berthing alongside other vessels under non-essential circumstances at seaports, execute the policy of allowing cargo conveyance while tightening restrictions on human mobility at land ports, strictly patrol frontline border areas and keep the alert at the highest level to steadfastly guard against imported cases.
Second, we will continue to restrict cross-border flows of people without emergent and essential needs. Public awareness will be further enhanced about the severe pandemic situation, the approval and issuance of the exit-entry documents for mainland residents will be tightened, and the issuance of exit-entry documents including ordinary passports for applicants with non-emergency or non-essential purposes will be suspended.
Third, we will continue to strictly crack down on crimes that obstruct national border administration. Apart from cracking down on criminal gangs and destroying their networks and channels, we will severely punish those who are involved in human smuggling to prevent imported COVID-19 cases by people who enter the country illegally.
Fourth, we will strengthen cooperation with neighboring countries (regions) in immigration law enforcement. By having contactless meetings, joint patrol and exercises with the border control, exit-entry and immigration administration departments of countries (regions) sharing land borders with China, we will jointly strengthen port and border control, prevent and combat illegal cross-border criminal activities, and make sure that our work in preventing imported cases is carried out in an organized and orderly manner.
The support and cooperation from the public is necessary in the pandemic prevention and control. NIA would like to remind everyone that, as the virus continues to rage overseas, we should cherish the results that have been achieved in domestic pandemic control, strictly follow COVID-19 control guidelines and avoid travelling overseas under non-emergency or non-essential circumstances.
[China Media Group]:
You just mentioned that NIA will enhance cooperation with neighboring countries (regions) on immigration enforcement when it comes to preventing imported cases. I would like to ask what NIA has done in promoting international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19. And what results have been achieved?
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, NIA has maintained close contact with high-level officials of our counterparts from foreign countries. Also efforts have been made in sharing information about COVID-19 with neighboring countries and jointly managing ports and border areas, securing the battle against imported cases.
National immigration administration authorities resolutely implement the overall plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council for preventing imported epidemic cases. Relying on the border personnel liaison mechanism with related neighboring countries, we coordinate and promote the establishment of COVID-19-related information sharing mechanism to share on a daily basis the latest COVID-19 trends at border areas, management policies for ports and borders, pandemic prevention and control measures, and related data of the border counties (cities) on both sides and the exit-entry of COVID-19 patients and close contacts. We carry out contactless joint border patrol, law enforcement and exercises on a regular basis, step up the patrol and control of shortcuts and mountain passes where illegal exit-entry activities are likely to happen, comprehensively enhance society-wide management at border areas, and crack down on various cross-border criminal activities to cut off every possible cross-border transmission channel of the virus.
From January to June this year, we reported more than 2,200 pieces of information related to the pandemic, achieving the goal of grasping well about the pandemic prevention and control policy at ports and borders and the latest COVID-19 trends at border areas and accurately predicting the exit-entry of COVID-19 patients and close contacts. During joint patrol, law enforcement and exercises, we blocked and persuaded over 3,000 suspicious persons at the border areas to return. Officials from our counterpart departments in 10 neighboring countries and the Director of the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) , through letters or phone calls, spoke highly of the pandemic prevention and control cooperation at borders initiated by China's national immigration administration authorities, and fully appreciated the measures taken by the Chinese government in combating COVID-19 and the remarkable achievements it has made.
[China Media Group]:
I would like to ask about the changes in the policy related to foreigners' entry into China.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China made dynamic adjustments to the issuance of visa and entry policies for foreigners to China on the basis of pandemic prevention and control and the practices of many other countries. These temporary measures have effectively safeguarded the safety and health of both Chinese and foreigners in China. Currently, COVID-19 is still raging globally with new variants evolving constantly, so we will continue to fully implement the strategic requirements of the prevention of imported cases and resurgence of cases at home, and tighten pandemic prevention and control measures. At the same time, we will facilitate the entry for personnel to engage in economic, trade and technological activities, or coming to China for humanitarian reasons. Based on latest COVID-19 trends, we will coordinate with related departments to adjust exit-entry administration measures and release the information as soon as there are any new arrangements.
In the first half of the year, NIA introduced a series of reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, strengthen regulation, and improve services, and achieved remarkable results. What new measures will NIA take in the second half of the year in this regard?
Since its establishment in 2018, following the people-centered philosophy, NIA has stepped up efforts to promote reforms and innovation in immigration administration and introduced a series of innovative policy measures to promote national development strategies, provide better public services, create a favorable environment for business production and operation and facilitate people-to-people exchanges, contributing its share to high-level opening up and high-quality development. In the second half of the year, we will continue to strengthen prevention and control measures to avoid imported cases, enhance safety supervision and work deployment. While working on and improving existing policy measures, and with deepening reforms on immigration administration mechanism and policy institution innovation as the driving force, we will focus on providing services and solving tricky problems for the people and market entities in a practical manner, and continue to work on and introduce new reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, strengthen regulation and improve services. For more details, please follow our upcoming press conferences.
Friends from the press, in the interests of time, this press conference is coming to an end. Thank you again for your attendance!
Notice: The English version is only for reference. To learn more, please refer to the authoritative Chinese version.