China travel ban hitting on expat businesses and international schools

Published:  15 Jun at 6 PM
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Expat businesses in China are now under threat by the coronavirus travel ban.

From executives through English teachers to international schools and their pupils, China’s travel ban against foreigners entering the vast country is causing chaos. Firms are struggling as expat executives are trapped, unable get back even although they have work permits and valid residency visas. After a new cluster of coronavirus sufferers was identified in Beijing several days ago, moves to lift restrictions are now on the back burner.

One expat event organisor has been stuck in Singapore for almost six months, with her Chengdu-based firm’s revenue at zero after events and meetings were all cancelled. Although it’s believed business may improve over the next few months, she’s unable to meet up with potential clients and is afraid it’s all over for her. Another owner of a popular Middle Eastern restaurant in Beijing is now selling the premises prior to making his move to Israel permanent.

Chair of the UK’s Chamber of Commerce in China St John Moore is now calling for the establishment of a system which allows UK nationals and their families to return to China. Many such have made the country their regional base for branches in other Asian countries, with the pandemic now making it impossible to continue this strategy. US companies are in a similar situation, with the disruption of global travel a major reason.

China’s international schools are as badly affected, as students as well as teachers and executives are now stranded back in their home countries and unable to return for the foreseeable future. Although many students are now taking online classes, for many subjects at higher levels it’s now difficult to continue without real-time, fact-to-face instruction. Expat parents are now requesting repayment of their fees for the ongoing year, and requirements to pay upfront are not being well received.
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