New Delhi: The Chinese Embassy has updated its visa policy to grant entry to Indians working in China or their accompanying family members, many of whom have remained in India for more than two years after Beijing imposed a general ban on international visitors after the outbreak of COVID -19.
The Chinese Embassy in India on Monday updated its COVID-19 visa policy to accept visa applications from foreign nationals and their accompanying family members wishing to travel to China to resume work in all fields. . The Embassy clarified that “family members” means the spouse, parents, parents of the spouse, children, spouses of children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren of the professionals who work in China.
Last month, a number of Indian professionals based in China had urged Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar to pressure Beijing to allow the reunification of families separated for more than two years due to the travel ban.
Besides Indians working in China, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said that family members of Chinese citizens and foreigners with Chinese permanent residence permits traveling to China for family reunions or to visit Visiting relatives may also apply for visas.
However, visas for tourism and private purposes remain suspended, according to the update from the Chinese Embassy.
In April, after protracted representations from India, China agreed to allow the return of “certain” stranded Indian students and asked the Indian embassy here to collect details of students wishing to return.
According to the PTI news agency, estimates suggest that more than 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine at Chinese colleges, were stranded in India after returning home when COVID-19 broke out in China in December 2019. They were unable to return to China due to restrictions imposed by the Chinese government to stop the spread of the contagion.
But even as several countries have eased travel restrictions in recent months, China has been reluctant. Many Indian students or professionals who have lucrative businesses or jobs in China have been unable to return, which has completely disrupted their lives and careers.
More than 12,000 Indian students have reportedly expressed a desire to return and their details have been passed on to the Chinese government for processing.
China has yet to come up with a criteria for allowing students to return, as Beijing is reluctant to allow so many people to return at once given the country’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
While opening visa services to Indians, China has yet to announce plans to open flight facilities between the two countries. Currently, only diplomats between the two countries fly expensive flight routes to third countries.
In recent months, China has allowed the return of students from some friendly countries such as Pakistan, Thailand, the Solomon Islands and recently Sri Lanka.
Last month, Indians who are employed in China but who have not been able to return asked Jaishankar to make their case to Beijing.
“We have been separated from our respective families, including children, for more than 26 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel and visa disruptions,” said the workers, based in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities, in a petition submitted. at the Indian Embassy.
Among the petitioners are parents who have not seen their newborns in more than two years, as well as others whose children were studying in China and were unable to return to school due to the cancellation. visas and theft, disrupting their studies.
(With PTI inputs)