Indian nationals and their accompanying family members are preparing to return to China for work after the Chinese Embassy in India optimized visas policies for those who wish to travel to China to resume work.
The Chinese Embassy in India announced on Monday that it will optimize the visa policy during the COVID-19 pandemic starting on that day.
The updated policy applies to foreign nationals and their accompanying family members to China for resumption of work in all fields.
It also covers family members of Chinese citizens and foreigners with Chinese permanent residence permit going to China for family reunions or to visit relatives, the embassy said, noting that visa applications are temporarily suspended for tourism and other private purposes, the embassy noted.
A certificate of COVID-19 vaccination?as well as an invitation letter issued by central and state organs, central enterprises, foreign affairs and commercial departments of provincial governments, and foreign affairs departments of municipal governments will be required as mandatory application materials, according to the embassy.
Charanjeet Singh Arora, an Indian entrepreneur who has a business in China, told the Global Times that he is thrilled to hear the news and plans to apply for a visa.
"I've been staying in India for three years. I wanted to bring my entire family back to China," a Chinese surnamed Huang who lives in India whose husband is an Indian national, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Huang and some of her friends in similar cases are expected to submit their applicantions.
Many of those Indian nationals are businessmen working in the eastern and southern part of China, namely Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shanghai and some work as technicians at Indian companies, the Global Times learned.
Chinese observers viewed it as a friendly gesture from China to India. Opening the entry to foreign nationals is not a decision easily made due to COVID-19 concerns, they said, stressing cautious COVID-19 measures are required.
Direct flights between China and India have yet to be resumed and travel between the two countries needs a transfer in a third place.
China Southern Airlines is expected to resume flight CZ3028 from Guangzhou to Delhi on July 12 on a biweekly basis, according to Chinese media jiemian.com. But sources reached by the Global Times said the route is still awaiting the approval of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Aviation information provider VariFlight told the Global Times on Wednesday that from June 16 to July 15, there are no commercial flights between China and India.
Visas for Indian professionals offer hope to Indian students eager to resume their studies in China. Sources reached by the Global Times believe that the visa policies for students and general Indian citizens are likely to be gradually eased, but will still take time.
Indian news agency PTI said some 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine, have been stranded in India since December 2019 due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
"China and India are on a very different route in fighting COVID-19. Taking a cautious attitude to ease the visa entry policies is responsible to both Chinese residents in the country and Indian nationals," Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. "Visa policies for students will also be optimized after thorough consideration of the COVID-19 situation in a responsible manner," Hu said.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on June 9 that China has been facilitating the return of foreigners, including foreign students, who need to come to China while ensuring such return is COVID-secure. We have also been updating relevant visa and other policies in light of the situation.