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China Visa rules relaxed to allow long term stays

November -0001, 30
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China has clarified its visa rules to encourage more skilled workers to stay long term and for those people with family members in the country to stay for longer.

China visa
There are now four categories of Chinese Visas: the R visa which is offered to highly skilled workers with at least five years experience. These applicants will be fast tracked through the system compared with "Z" applicants who have a standard working visa.

Foreign students will need an X1 visa and foreign journalists a J1 visa. Anyone with relatives already living in China will need to apply for a Q1 visa, while those who want to stay indefinitely can apply for an S1 visa. The first four categories of visa are now valid for between 180 days and five years.

Gary Chodorow, an immigration lawyer who works in Hong Kong has said that talent in certain areas is needed in China and these new rules could offer new channels for companies wanting to recruit. He points out that some of the rules are ambiguous - in particular the one which states that applicants need to register with the local police each time they visit a new province. He feels this could prove difficult for people who need to travel regularly as part of their job.

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