Travel to China – Ban on flights to UK extended
You need a visa for travel to China, but you have no idea what that really means and where to get one. You can’t just walk into China and start handing over your money. You first need to get a visa from the Chinese embassy in the UK. Now Chinese visa application centres are open across the country.
On 4 November last year the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an announcement regarding Chinese citizens travelling in the UK. On 4 November last year the Chinese Embassy in the UK made a statement concerning the temporary suspension of entry into China by non-Asian nationals in the UK who hold Chinese visas or residency permits. The Chinese authorities stated that the decisions were being taken as China has “reached the serious problem of excessive amounts of influx of illegal personnel in its labor market”. There was no explanation as to why the Chinese government has issued these visa restrictions.
Some people speculated that it may be related to the agreements signed on the Accession of the Republic of Ireland and the Free Trade Agreement with China. In these agreements China is said to have agreed to restrict the entry of Chinese nationals to Britain who do not hold valid work permits and do not have permission to reside in the UK. However, no clarification has been given as to whether the Chinese government has restricted British citizens from travelling to China or whether they have imposed restrictions on travel to the UK that can only be implemented if a British national has a valid leave to remain in China.
The fact remains that these restrictions have been placed on the dual national’s issue and no one really knows what their exact implications are. The restrictions introduced last year on entering and exiting China have caused difficulties for British citizens who are either travelling to China for a holiday or for business purposes. The accession of the Republic of Ireland and the Free Trade Agreement with China have caused problems for British nationals who are either travelling to China or intending to do so. This is due to the fact that they are required to obtain exit and entry visas for the duration of their stay in China.
The reasons as to why this requirement has been imposed on businessmen traveling to China remain unclear although some media sources have reported that the Chinese authorities have ordered all flights from the UK to be grounded. A similar situation arose in July, when the UK’s decision to impose an exit ban on Chinese tourists was criticized by Chinese officials who were carrying out a series of important business deals with UK citizens. The British government has since appealed to the Chinese embassy to clarify the situation.
The Chinese government has always remained firm that it has no intention of granting such restrictive measures to foreigners coming to China for tourist purposes. The recent move by the British government to impose exit and entry requirements is simply a politically motivated move to boost the economy of the UK at the cost of its own citizens. Some international business circles in China are advising business people visiting China to avoid the UK, as the current economic slowdown in China will prevent foreigners coming to the country until the current situation has completely rebounded. The increased trade between the UK and China has significantly improved the conditions of the working people in China and the government does not want to see this chance lost. For this reason, the restrictions have been imposed to protect the Chinese economy from any further damage.
The restrictions that have been imposed an entry ban on all flights to China from the UK is obviously a big blow for the Chinese tourists who had planned to visit London and other major cities in England. The Chinese government is publicly supporting the measures taken by the British government and is also considering taking similar measures to curb the activities of British companies operating in China. The Reuters news agency reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign affairs has issued a statement regarding the matter, which read that the Ministry was “angered by the UK’s announcement of a review of China-UK relations, which may negatively affect the normalization of bilateral relations between both parties”.
The Ministry also stated that it would closely monitor all developments between the two countries. It also added that the UK’s move to impose an entry ban on flights from China into the UK is “unhelpful”. There is no definite indication as to how long the Chinese authorities will be able to keep the ban up, but it is estimated that it could take up to a month before the restrictions start to be lifted completely. It is highly possible that the Chinese authorities will once again tighten their belt, banning all flights from the UK, but again, no one seems to know for sure yet. Some Chinese travel agencies have already started issuing refunds to clients, as the British tourists who used their services are being banned from traveling to China again. Therefore, the most optimistic forecast is that the ban will be relaxed eventually, but only after all flights from the UK have been stopped.