In the past three years, the Public Security Police Force (PSP) received some 2,000 to 3,000 immigration applications motivated by “family reunions”, according to a report by TDM citing Lao Ka Weng, head of the department for border control-investigation and repatriation division, detention center for illegal immigrants.
Most of the applicants were reported to be mainland residents.
In the last year alone, PSP issued 3,076 residence permits. Of these, 2,585 were granted to individuals purportedly coming to Macau for family reunions.
Lao said that there are currently different approval procedures for mainland residents and non-mainland residents in regard to residence applications.
“Mainland residents come to Macau with a one-way permit travel document and there are no regulations requiring them to stay in Macau for a certain number of days. Non-mainland residents are required to stay in Macau 183 days per year, with this being one of the requirements for a renewal of residence,” said the official.
In 2020, PSP received 10 reports of sham marriages. However, in the same year, no one was deported as result of conviction of the alleged sham marriages. The official explained that was due to the judicial process of the relevant cases still being ongoing.
The city’s police authority and identification authority have been cracking down on sham marriages. Police crime statistics showed that, in 2020, the authority logged over 40 sham marriage cases involving over 90 individuals.
However, the Identification Department only deregistered the ID card of four people over the past five years.
Currently, the Legislative Assembly (AL) is still in the middle of a discussion on a law that proposes to criminalize sham marriages.
The local government is currently only able to prosecute sham marriage participants under the charge of falsifying documents.
The new law, once approved, is expected to stop people from engaging in sham marriages as the relevant behavior will be regarded as a criminal act.
Lawmaker Ella Lei has expressed belief in the efficacy of the new law. She also hopes the police authority can continue pursuing further accountability from those “parties” involved in a sham marriage.