Swiss Centers: China’s easing of border restrictions is a big step
- In its first move to ease travel restrictions since March 2020, China announced it will cut its mandatory inbound quarantine in half and exempt the requirement on official invitation letters for certain visa applications.
- The Swiss Centers in China welcome this change, stating that the decision will help restart cross-border business travel and make it easier for Swiss companies to bring employees to China.
- To make the new regulations truly effective, they need to be implemented uniformly by local governments, and the international flight situation needs to normalize. Besides, China still does not renew or issue new passports for its citizens.
Shanghai (July 1, 2022) – It is not a change of course on the zero-Covid goal, but still a remarkable policy shift: For the first time since March 2020, China has eased its border restrictions and cut its mandatory inbound quarantine time in half. Overseas arrivals into China will now need to quarantine for seven days in a “centralized quarantine” hotel, and afterwards an additional three days in home isolation. Previously it was 14 days in quarantine and then seven days in home isolation. “The Swiss Centers in China and the whole Swiss business community welcome this decision. It will help restart cross-border business travel and make it easier for Swiss companies to bring employees into the country”, states Nicolas Musy, Delegate of the Board of Swiss Centers in China, a platform that lowers the market entry barriers into Asia for Swiss companies. The government announcement also relaxed isolation measures for close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases to seven days of home quarantine instead of having to isolate at a government facility.
Visa hurdles removed
Recently, China has removed hurdles for foreigners trying to enter China for work as well as their relatives visiting them: For a Chinese work visa (Z visa) and dependent visa (S1 visa), the PU Letter, a government-issued invitation letter, is no longer required. For business visa (M visa) applications, the requirement of PU Letter is expected to be removed as well, as already announced by the Chinese Embassy in France.
Optimistic economic outlook
“The Covid restrictions have severely disrupted economic activity in China. Analysts expect the second-quarter GDP growth to weaken to just 1.5% year-on-year. But the recent announcements are good news for the economy”, reports Mr. Zhen Xiao, CEO of the Swiss Centers Group. “While the quarantine reduction is an important step, another positive report is that the People’s Bank of China is pledging to keep the monetary policy supportive. These measures provide for a much more optimistic economic outlook.” There are also positive signs of relaxing policies that restrict domestic travels: on 29th June, the famous QR code that indicates whether you have been to risky zones has been simplified. Following this news, an increase of hotel and flights booking are expected especially in view of the summer holidays. The Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets reacted with enthusiasm to the easing of measures by rallying nearly a percentage point after the news, with airline and travel related stock performing best.