Authorities allowed to collect biometric data from people entering and leaving SAR under new proposed law

The Legislative Assembly (AL) third standing committee has concluded the discussion of a new immigration law, with the current draft allowing for authorities to collect biometric data from people entering and leaving Macau, TDM Radio reported.

Under the last draft of the proposed law, the Public Security Police Force (CPSP) can require ‘when necessary’ for biometric data to be collected from people crossing the local borders for the purposes of identity confirmation, limited to: finger and palm prints; iris recognition, and facial scans.

The draft also indicates police can exempt minors from having their biometric data collected, but members of the committee have still inquired in their final report for the government to clarify if this provision will also encompass minors.

The chairman of the third standing committee, Vong Hin Fai, also indicated today that the concept of ‘habitual residence’, which dated from 1999, was also revised.

The changes to the ‘habitual residence definition include that those who have previously obtained non-permanent residence and who frequently and regularly come to Macau to study, work or do business – even if they do not stay overnight – should be considered residents in Macau.

This change arose opposition from some legislators in previous committee meetings, with legislator Sulu Sou Ka Hou making several attempts to bring the matter to an AL debate, the debate proposal was voted down by the majority of legislators.

An exception in the law was also included for those whose residency permit renewals have been refused and are currently involved in administrative or judicial proceedings to file an administrative appeal from the moment the regime is approved in the speciality and until March next year.

The legal framework for migration controls, residence permits and penalties for ‘fake marriages’ with the intent to obtain residency are also set to increase from 2 to 8 years, while the 60-day period of detention for illegals counting until their identity is confirmed is to be increased from 60 days to a maximum of 2 years.

The bill will now be sent to the AL for debate and voting.