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2020-05-15 | All chapters

Facilitation of Chinese Visa Issuance for Foreign Nationals

Since the closure of its borders to foreign nationals on 28th March, the European Chamber has advocated strongly for their gradual re-opening so that European company employees and their families can get back to China and participate in getting China’s economy back on its feet.

On 9th April, President Joerg Wuttke wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi and the Chinese Ambassador to the European Union, HE Zhang Ming. Minister Wang Yi responded quickly in writing, indicating a solution for getting residents back to China. Ambassador Zhang responded to President Wuttke yesterday, reiterating the efforts that China is undertaking in facilitating the return of foreign nationals that are vital to company operations in China.

The European Chamber is in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support the gradual opening of flights to China, on the condition that stringent testing of all travellers takes place and that all other health and safety considerations are taken into consideration. At the municipal level, the European Chamber secretariat has been in contact with local authorities responsible for providing letters to senior business executives, humanitarian aid workers, engineers and experts, to support their return to China. 

Last week, the Chamber was asked by the Ministry of Commerce to provide the number of foreign nationals that are overseas and wish to return, along with other detailed information. This week, in an encouraging step by the Chinese Government, the Chamber established another channel to support individuals to obtain visas that can then be used in combination with chartered flights to facilitate their return. Some of these chartered flights will likely be the result of China’s bilateral negotiations with member states. 

The European Chamber has today provided its Advisory Council members with the first opportunity to test this new channel, and hopes to extend it more widely once it has proved successful.

Although the process has been challenging, given the need for coordination among many important and implementing authorities, including multiple central ministries, local authorities, embassies, and member state governments, the European Chamber believes things are heading in the right direction. The Chamber supports the first potential charter flight from Frankfurt am Main to Shanghai Pudong on 25th May to allow the re-entry of some employees of German companies into China, and hopes this sets a precedent allowing other countries to follow suit. 

The European Chamber will continue to push for broader and swifter opening, so those who need to return to China can do so as soon as possible.

For more information please contact

Ms Michelle Zhang