Expat owned businesses in China now at risk from lockdown

Published:  16 Jun at 6 PM
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The Chinese ban on entry is causing fear and confusion in both international schools and foreign companies.

Foreign businesses and international schools in China have been badly hit by the country’s travel ban and lockdown, with international students, company executives and teachers fearing for their futures in one way or another. Many are stranded overseas, either in their home countries, in holiday destinations or in countries home to their head offices. Families are separated and companies are struggling to cope without their key employees.

As has happened across the world, even long-stay expats with valid immigration documents such as work permits and residency permits are now shut out of China and unable to return. One head of a well-known event organising firm has been trapped in Singapore for almost six months, unable to return to her Chengdu-based company’s headquarters. The pandemic soon put paid to events and gatherings, and the company hasn’t earned anything since then.

Expat-owned businesses all over China’s major cities are now shut down, with many for sale as their owners have decided to permanently repatriate to their countries of origin. A number of British businesses have made China their hub for the region, with their owners’ plans now on hold, and Chinese businesses are unable to ensure their overseas staff can get back to the homeland. International schools and their expat teachers are in an even worse situation, with many staff still locked down overseas and unable to return whilst their schools do their best to open again.
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