Visa Crunch

China Confirmed Repatriation Of “Limited Number” Of International Students

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian acknowledged that the government will allow the return of “a small number” of overseas students based on their majors, but gave no timetable.

Beijing earlier stated that students from Singapore, Malaysia, India, and Pakistan will be allowed to return without a deadline. According to Zhao, China “is coordinating arrangements for a small number of foreign students with actual needs to return to China in light of the changing international epidemiological scenario and the features of the students’ majors.”

Zhao did not specify which majors would be prioritised, but he did state that students must closely adhere to China’s pandemic prevention protocols. “China has taken these reasonable measures with a view to protecting the health and safety of all Chinese citizens as well as foreign nationals in China,” he said. “We hope and believe that we will have your understanding.”

When asked how the basis visas will be granted to students from which countries, Zhao stated, “As the tsunami of Omicron variant continues to rage across the world, China has taken reasonable and necessary prevention and control measures aimed at protecting the health and safety of Chinese citizens, foreign nationals in China, and a small number of international students coming to China.”

“We will consider in a coordinated manner the matter of foreign students returning to their classes in China, actively explore feasible options, and gradually arrange for those with the need to return in an orderly fashion.”

The statements from Chinese foreign ministry spokespersons serve as a favourable indication that the Chinese government will allow international students to return to China; nonetheless, his evasive responses garnered the ire of Twitter users.

“Foreign students permitted to return soon if they have ‘Need,'” one Twitter user wrote. What exactly are these ‘Needs’? When is this going to be possible? We (foreign students) have heard a lot of promises in the past, so please provide us with comprehensive details this time.”

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