Immigration authorities are cracking down on overstaying expats in Macau with hefty instant fines.
Macau is a special administrative district of China with local residence and visa rules.
The moves follow Macau’s Immigration Department publishing a new rule tightening up visa overstay regulations for expats.
The measures mean police and immigration authorities can arrest any expat with an expired visa or residence permit.
The expat is then fined between £15 and £35 a day, payable on the spot, if the document expired within 30 days.
Strict new visa and residency rules
Anyone who has overstayed by more than 30 days must leave Macau immediately and cannot return for at least 12 months.
“Staying in Macau without the appropriate visa or residence permit is a serious offence and one we are actively prosecuting,” said an immigration spokesman.
“All workers and expats should carefully check their immigration papers to make sure they are in order and contact the authorities if they have overstayed. Those intending to come to Macau should ensure they have the right documents before they leave their home state.”
British passport holders can stay in Macau for up to six months before applying for a visa or residence permit. Nationals from most other countries can stay for 90 days.
Working visa and residency rules are strictly applied in Macau. All expats are expected to carry in date documents.
They must also have a reason to visit and enough money to pay for their own support during their stay.
“Offenders must pay their fine as soon as they are arrested or report to the police that they have overstayed their visit without applying for the correct immigration documents,” said the spokesman.
“Anyone who has overstayed for a year is considered an illegal immigrant and cannot apply for a visa or residency permit for two years.”
Macau ranks as one of the world’s richest places, with a per capita wealth exceeding that of Switzerland, according to statistics issued by the World Bank.
The wealth is mainly down to the relaxed gambling laws attracting expats from around the world.
Macau is China’s only legalised gambling centre, and has a status much like Las Vegas, Reno or Atlantic City in the US, which have also built their wealth on gambling.
The former Portuguese colony has a GDP exceeding that of neighbouring Hong Kong and is fourth in the world behind Luxembourg, Norway and Qatar.