What is the news? The government has clarified current immigration policies for both foreign and Chinese nationals in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Hubei Province.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Potentially all visas and permits, depending on the individual situation.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals in China and Chinese nationals planning to travel abroad.
  • Impact on processing: Extension of Chinese visas and residence permits may be delayed; Chinese nationals planning to travel abroad may face visa application rejection or restrictions.
  • Business impact: Companies employing foreign nationals in China or Chinese nationals in other countries may face delays in moving employees or renewing their immigration documents.

Next steps: Employers should consider the likelihood of delays due to processing or quarantine. Anyone who experiences symptoms such as fever accompanied by acute respiratory infection should immediately seek evaluation and treatment and notify the authorities.

Background: Since the coronavirus was first detected in December, countries have begun issuing travel bans and warnings to prevent the further spread of the virus. China has taken various measures to contain the virus, including closing the Wuhan port of entry in Hubei Province.

Analysis & Comments: With the exception of the Wuhan port of entry, China’s immigration authorities are operating normally at other ports of entry, and there are no changes to visa exemption policies. Foreign nationals can continue to stay and work in China but are advised to check current immigration policies in other countries if planning to travel outside China. The government has stated that immigration authorities may lighten or eliminate penalties for overstaying visas or failing to renew residence permits for foreign nationals affected by the coronavirus. Furthermore, the online system should continue to be used for processing of extensions and residence permit applications. The government has also reminded Chinese Mainland residents planning to travel abroad to verify current entry and exit rules in their country of destination as many countries have recently imposed restrictions on travel from China. Deloitte will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates when available.

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