Hope for convenient exit & entry
Updated: 2012-12-21 10:08
BEIJING -- Laurence Huang, a Chinese-American scholar specialized in the science of education, feels a bit troublesome when thinking about going back to China now. She will be required to submit an invitation letter every time she applies for a Chinese visa, according to a new law passed in June.
"I had hoped the new exit and entry law would bring us more convenience and better service," Huang said, "but the letter issue seems to me an extra trouble."
But there are also good signals. The new Exit & Entry Administration Law, scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2013, stipulates that foreign "talents", for the first time, will be granted regular Chinese visas.
It reflects the concept of "skilled immigration", said Professor Liu Guofu, an immigration law expert from the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT).
China does not have a migration law. The country passed two laws on the exit and entry of Chinese citizens and foreigners, respectively, in 1985. The new law aims to build a unified exit and entry information platform by combining the two together.
One of the objectives in revising the laws is to facilitate the entry of overseas talents. "China's demographic dividend is dwindling. Talents will be crucial to the country's continued development in the following three decades," said Dr. Wang Huiyao, director general of the Center for China and Globalization, a subsidiary of China Western Returned Scholars Association.
Many of the overseas talents are Chinese nationals who have lived abroad either with or without foreign resident or citizen status. Since China carried out the reform and opening up policy in the late 1970s, about 10 million people have left the Chinese mainland, and more than half of them have stayed abroad, Wang said.
With China's rapid economic growth, many of them have come back to seek better development opportunities during the past decade. Official statistics show that the total of both Chinese and foreigners exiting or entering China climbed to 411 million in 2011, 10.08 times that of 1985.
However, many returnees complained that the often frustrating experiences of applying and waiting for approval to enter China have made them feel "unwelcome" in their motherland.