Official records at the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) indicate that there are 607 Chinese with work and resident permits in the country, immigration officials have said.
Out of the number, 75 are in the mining industry, 197 in the oil, gas and energy industry, while the rest are in other sectors.
However, according to a source at the Chinese Embassy in Accra, the number of Chinese in the country is in the thousands.
Conceding that the number of Chinese in Ghana could be more, immigration officials said that was so because some of the Chinese came into the country as investors, while others used the Aflao Border as entry point.
They stated that most of the Chinese were issued with visas on arrival, explaining that with that the companies or individuals who invited them would have to write to the Director of the GIS for approval before the visas were issued.
Such Chinese visitors have to state in the letters where they are coming from and the purpose of their visit, the day of arrival and departure, who will be responsible for their accommodation, among others.
If the officials are satisfied with the requirements, they will then issue the visas in writing to the applicants at a fee of$150.
According to immigration officials who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity, majority of the Chinese, in their attempt to avoid going through laid down procedures for resident and work permits, flew from China to Togo and used approved or unapproved routes to arrive in the country.
From the beginning of the year to date, 81 Chinese who were involved in illegal mining activities in the country have been arrested by immigration officials.
Out of the number, 29 have so far been repatriated to China.
The immigration officials said although 20 of the Chinese were issued with repatriation orders, they were still in the country because they claimed that they had lost their passports and other documents through a fire outbreak.
They were currently awaiting travel certificates from the Chinese Embassy in Accra to enable them to return home, the officials said.
They said 32 of those who were arrested had valid resident and working permits and that 11 were still under investigation.
According to Mr Ben Ayeh, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, small-scale mining was the preserve of Ghanaians.
According to the laws on mining, foreigners are issued with permits to venture into large-scale mining, not small-scale mining, in the country.
Currently, records at the Minerals Commission indicate that there are 799 small Â¬scale registered and licensed mining operations owned by only Ghanaians in the country.
Mr Ayeh said most often Ghanaians, after acquiring the licences, sold or transferred them to foreigners.
Making reference to the incident which occurred at Manso-Nsiena last Thursday, he said neither the Chinese nor the local people had licences to engage in small-scale mining in the area.
Last Thursday, there was exchange of gunfire when the youth of Manso-Nsiena in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region clashed with some Chinese suspected to be engaged in illegal mining operations in the town.
Following that, the Police Administration has launched full-scale investigations into the activities of illegal miners in the country.
Source: Daily Graphic