European Chamber Stance on the Reoccurrence of Entry Suspensions of Returnees from Certain Countries Go back »

2020-11-06 | All chapters

European Chamber Stance on the Reoccurrence of Entry Suspensions of Returnees from Certain Countries

Background

On 4th November restrictions were ratcheted up further when separate announcements were made in the UK, Belgium and the Philippines by the respective Chinese embassies, that foreign nationals from these countries would be completely barred from entering China, even if they hold valid visas and residency permits. Within 24 hours, the number of countries whose citizens are now prevented from travelling to China had increased to 10, including France, Italy, India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia the Ukraine and Russia.

Stance

The European Chamber is deeply concerned about the return of these measures. Many legal residents from the listed countries have been stuck outside of China since similar measures were first imposed in late March. The door has steadily inched open in the intervening months, culminating with the 28th September announcement that those with a valid residency permit could come back without a return visa under certain conditions, a development that was warmly welcomed by foreign nationals residing in China.

By closing the door to legal residents less than two months later, China has dealt a serious body blow to business sentiment. European companies are worried that the list of affected countries will quickly expand, and that companies will be forced to revaluate where they assign their staff as a result. Furthermore, the business community is perplexed that this comes after months of China’s testing and quarantine system having proved successful in controlling the risk of new COVID-19 outbreaks caused by returnees.

“Slamming the door shut on foreign residents trying to return to China the same week that the China International Import Expo kicked off sends quite the mixed message,” said Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. “Many of the foreign residents stuck outside of China since March are now back to square one, and we fear that many will simply give up trying to return.”

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Yichi Zhang