Starting from 00:00 on 24 August 2022 (Wednesday), certain foreign nationals may enter the People’s Republic of China (“PRC” or “China”) without additional Chinese entry visa applications as noted below:
- if they are holding valid APEC business travel cards1 to engage in business activities in China;
- if they are foreign students holding valid study residence permits.
These and other developments are highlighted below.
(For related coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2022-134, 13 July 2022.)
WHY THIS MATTERS
Due to the recent modifications, companies, individuals (especially mobile employees and students), and immigration advisers should apprise themselves of the new measures, avail themselves of the more favourable opportunities, and, importantly, take steps to stay compliant.
International business travellers who travel to China are advised to consider regularly reviewing and assessing their travel plans, keep track of the duration of stay accumulated in China, and document the nature and purposes of the activities (to be) performed in China. It is important to plan ahead in respect of the business traveller’s personal immigration status and cross-border tax arrangements.
APEC Business Travel Cards, Students, and Other Immigration News
According to the recent “Notice on Allowing entry to China of APEC Business Travel Card holders and Study Residence Permit holders and on Updating International Student Visa application requirements”:
- Chinese overseas diplomatic posts are resuming acceptance and processing of student entry visa applications. Detailed requirements and processes are to be spelled out by the PRC Embassy/Consulate.
- Since June 2022, China’s authorities have further eased restrictions on entry into China and Chinese visa applications.
- As noted earlier, the entry ban for APEC business travel cards and valid Chinese student residence permits are being lifted, and student visa applications have resumed.
- Overseas PRC diplomatic posts in Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, etc. have issued related announcements regarding the above, and more locations are expected to do likewise.
- Detailed requirements in terms of documents and processes may vary according to location. Interested parties may contact the immigration team with KPMG in the People’s Republic of China for more details.
The latest shifts in travel and visa policies appear to be positive signals that the Chinese government is feeling confident about the effects of its coronavirus epidemic control and prevention measures. It is expected that with simplified Chinese visa application procedures, a relaxation of restrictions on entry bans, and more lenient cross-border travel scenarios, the country’s logistics and international commerce sectors will experience a boost.
Companies and individuals should pay close attention to immigration and quarantine requirements in places of origin (pre-departure) and destination, carefully evaluate the employees’ relocation and international business travel plans, and consider options for cost-effective mobility strategies.
KPMG in the People’s Republic of China will closely monitor regulatory updates and will endeavour to keep GMS Flash Alert readers informed as developments occur.
1 The APEC Business Travel Card is an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) initiative designed to strengthen economic cooperation in the region and provide each other with long-term multiple entry with visa-free and expedited customs clearance for their business travels. A total number of 21 economies, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea, are in the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme. Chinese nationals who hold valid APEC Business Travel Cards can enjoy visa-free entry and multiple entry to 16 countries around the world, each entry can last for a stay of at least 60 days.
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the People’s Republic of China.
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