China allowing many European nationals to return to Teach English in China

Picture of Temple in South West China on summit of Emei mountain

China may be allowing European nationals of many countries permission to return to China if they possess a valid work or residence permit. The news is a much welcome step for many people eager to return to China to continue working as English teachers. The news was released here on the 10th August on the Chinese social media page of the Chinese embassy in Denmark and is yet to be made widely public. However, if the information in the article is true then it looks possible that teachers may be able to return to China shorter than many had anticipated.

Currently, the article states that only those already in possession of a work or residence permit are able to apply for a visa, free of charge, in any Chinese Embassy or consulate. Upon getting their visa, it appears that these individuals would then, theoretically, have permission at the discretion of the Chinese authorities to re-enter China. However, it is important to note that no details of when these individuals would be permitted to re-enter China is known. Importantly, those arriving will of course need to follow all the relevant regulations on Quarantine and Coronavirus control as part of the entry process into China.

China had suspended permission for foreigners, including those with a valid Chinese residence or work permit entry to China since March 28th.

Which European countries does this apply to?

According to the press release, nationals of the following European countries may apply for the visa to return to China:

(In alphabetical order)

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

What about the USA and other countries?

The press release was specifically targeted towards the countries listed above and as such, there is no news to suggest any changes to other countries at this time.

What about new teachers?

The article clearly states that this is for those who already have a work or residence permit in China. However, in our agencies’ opinion, this is a considerable development and brings new teachers one step closer to the likelihood of being permitted to come to China in the future. In fact, sources suggest some schools have already successfully had their visa paperwork approved for new teachers. Another Wechat (Chinese social media similar in function to Whatsapp and Facebook combined) page called ThatsShenzhen cited Beijing Keystone academy as having 14 of their overseas employees being given the green light by the Chinese visa authorities to return to the country.

Caution is required

This appears to be a positive development for those teachers waiting to return to China. However, it is important to remember that we are living in unprecedented times and all issues relating to the Coronavirus can change very quickly. We recommend keeping up to date with the news and talking directly with your school employer about this issue if applying for a position within China.