It’s been a while since we heard unofficial reports that foreigners with a valid work permit may re-enter China. Today, we heard this news more formally through the official website of the China National Immigration Administration. The official government body in China that manages nationwide immigration policy. The statement in Chinese and their own unofficial English translation is below and can be seen directly on the official site at https://www.nia.gov.cn/n897453/c1344669/content.html.
In view of the current COVID-19 situation and the need of epidemic prevention and control, adjustments are now made to the Announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Administration on the Temporary Suspension of Entry by Foreign Nationals Holding Valid Chinese Visas or Residence Permits issued on 26 March 2020.
Effective from 0 a m., 28 September 2020, foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters and reunion are allowed to enter China with no need for applying for new visas. If the above three categories of residence permits held by foreign nationals expired after 0 a.m., 28 March 2020, the holders may apply for relevant visas by presenting the expired residence permits and relevant materials to the Chinese embassies or consulates on the condition that the purpose of the holders’ visit to China remains unchanged. The above-mentioned personnel shall strictly abide by the Chinese regulations on epidemic prevention and control.
Other measures in the Announcement issued on March 26 will continue to be implemented. While ensuring effective epidemic control, the Chinese government will continue resuming people-to-people exchanges in a step-by-step and orderly manner.
What it means for Teaching English in China
This is once more a positive step towards normality for the Teaching English in China industry. Those teachers that left China with a valid or even no expired work permit can re-apply for an extension and then return to China.
This does NOT include new teachers!
A key takeaway from the news is that new teachers are not affected. Those without an already valid or previously valid work permit are not currently invited in this article to apply to go to China. It is estimated by our agency that news welcoming new teachers depends on how the covid situation evolves over the next few months with the existing teachers. We now estimate the earliest new teachers being able to return as Chinese New Year (late January/ early February) 2021.
It is worth mentioning that rumours from our clients suggests some new teachers are being allowed to commence starting the visa process in preparation for arriving in China in the future but this is yet to be officially confirmed.