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Guangdong Migrant Workers Spend 3.5 Billion RMB Per Year on Papers

China Labor Watch, 21 June 2002

In the past, a migrant worker from another province needed only a reference letter from the unit where his or her residence belongs to and an identification card. Even the Shenzhen and other Special Economic Zones required only a border crossing permit. However, as more migrant workers came to Shenzhen, local authorities introduced various permit papers. Permit fees paid by migrant workers have become a stable source of extra income for each administrative and law-enforcement department of the government.

Currently, every migrant worker in Shenzhen spends at least three month salary's every year on eight to 15 various types of permits, which include a Shenzhen border crossing permit, temporary residency permit, working permit, single permit, family-planning permit, health permit, birth approval permit, so on, costing about 700 RMB (US$90).

In Shenzhen, each non-resident person needs to spend 700 RMB on a dozen or so permits in order to work legally in a factory. The situation is similar in other parts of Guangdong as well. Based on the estimate that Guangdong has 5.3 million migrant workers, calculations show that permit fees have reached 3.5 billion RMB (US$450 million) a year.