Monday, September 15, 2008

Visa restrictions coming to an end?

One of the more unfortunate side-effects of China's desire to pull off a 'perfect' Olympic games was the clamp down on issuing visas to foreigners. It is not untypical of Chinese bureaucrats to take sledge hammer sized solutions to walnut sized problems and this is a case in point with all regular travel to the country having been seriously disrupted for several months. This has caused a slow down in a lot of regular business activity and has impacted foreign visitor attendance at those events outside Beijing which were allowed to continue.

Now, I see from Fons Tuinstra's blog, that word is that this will all be rolled back once the current Paralympics are finished and after the 1st October National Day holidays. He is quoting from Dezan Shira's China Briefing which says the Public Security Bureau has indicated that:

Beginning in the second week of October, China will start issuing one year multi-entry F visas, making it far more convenient for those traveling to China on business to enter the country. The new measures will assist with the various trade shows, such as the Canton Trade Fair, that China traditionally holds during the Autumn.

Interesting that the change of tune should be linked to exhibitions. It suggests that those in power are, contrary to popular opinion, aware of the very negative impact that the visa policy has had on business.

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