On Tuesday, an event was held in Guangzhou to discuss ways that the city government is working with local organizations to bring foreign nationals back to the city, among other topics.
Titled ‘How to Return to China (Guangzhou): Talks with Guangzhou Authorities,’ the event was co-organized by the Guangzhou Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, GRT Radio reports.
At the event, relevant government departments in Guangzhou shared recent updates on policies and measures regarding foreign employees both stranded outside the country and currently living in Guangzhou.
According to Yang Chen, deputy director of the Guangzhou Commerce Bureau, Guangzhou has brought in more than 1,300 employees for various enterprises since June 30, with 10 chartered flights arriving in Guangzhou over the past month. Yang talked about fast-track policies, which ease the process in applying for invitation letters and visas and chartering flights.
As of Tuesday, South Korea, Germany, the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy and Singapore were fast-track applicable countries. Those engaged in business activities deemed ‘essential’ (high-tech projects, vital industrial chains, technical services, production, logistics) are eligible to enter.
A ‘2+12’ quarantine measure will be adopted for those entering Guangzhou by charter planes via fast-tracked flights. New arrivals will be isolated for medical observation for two days and receive a nucleic acid test. Those who test negative will be allowed to commute between their places of residence and worksites for 14 days. Following that period, additional nucleic acid tests will be conducted; those who test negative again will be allowed to work and move about freely in China.
People entering China via the green channel mechanism (which shortens the application process for chartered flights) from other countries not on the fast-track list will still need to quarantine for 14 days. Exceptions can be made for ‘special passengers’ – referring to people aged above 70 years old or under 14 years old, pregnant women and those with underlying diseases.
Regarding Guangzhou’s education sector, Deputy Director-General Gu Zhongpeng of the Guangzhou Education Bureau said there are over 10,000 foreign university students in the city, and more than 25,000 foreign students in total, according to the latest data.
Among Guangzhou’s 13 international schools, over 200 foreign teachers and staff are currently stuck overseas and unable to return to the country. While Gu said the education bureau will do their part in creating supportive policies to help foreign teachers stranded abroad return to China, international schools are also taking other measures to ensure they have enough teachers.
“AISG is addressing this challenge through the hiring of qualified and experienced teachers that currently reside in China,” the school’s director Kevin Baker told That’s in June. Baker noted a “significant number of international schools in China are creating mitigation plans to address the unfortunate reality [that] their teachers [are] displaced abroad and are eager but unable to return to China at this time.”
According to GRT Radio, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education are looking into relevant entry policies for foreign teachers and students, although no policies have been issued yet.
Some international teachers in Beijing have already received the go-ahead to enter China, as multiple schools in Beijing announced that visa applications for foreign faculty were approved by the municipal government earlier this month.
[Cover image via Anugrah Lohiya/Pexels]