Immigration officials in Guangzhou, the capital of southern China’s Guangdong province, are tightening visa regulations to check the growing tide of African immigrants into the city, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
Official records show that there are no more than 20,000 Africans in Guangzhou, but mainland media estimate that their number could surpass 200,000. Many of them are staying in the city illegally, according to the newspaper.
Many Africans live in Xiaobei and Dengfeng Road in Yuexiu district, buying and selling goods between China and African countries. Many can speak fluent Cantonese while some are married to local Chinese.
Some Africans seek to join national football and other sports teams in order to gain Chinese citizenship, the report said.
However, with the tightened immigration policies, new immigrants are only given three-month visas, making it difficult for them to conduct business or even rent houses.
Also, visas cost as much as 9,000 yuan (US$1,465) per year, providing another disincentive for Africans who want to live in the city.
Still, the growing number of Africans illegally staying and working in the city is fuelling worries that they could pose security challenges.
The Yuexiu district government plans to undertake new measures to address the situation, a local official was quoted as saying.
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