China has announced preparations to provide visas to Indian professionals and their families who have been imprisoned in India for more than two years after Beijing’s severe immigration restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Thousands of Indian students studying at Chinese universities have expressed a desire to return to their home countries, and China is presently reviewing their applications.
On Monday, the Chinese Embassy in India changed its COVID-19 visa policy after more than two years, allowing foreign nationals and their family members to return to China and resume employment in any field or profession. This is a tremendous relief for hundreds of Indian professionals and their families detained at home since 2020.
Last month, a group of Indian professionals working in China petitioned External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to urge Beijing to allow their stranded relatives to come home.
Family members of Chinese citizens and foreigners with Chinese permanent residence permits who wish to visit relatives in China can apply for visas, according to the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. However, according to the Chinese Embassy announcement, visas for tourism and private purposes are still suspended.
China decided to facilitate the repatriation of “some” imprisoned Indian students in April after months of negotiations with India and asked the Indian Embassy in Washington to gather information on the students who wanted to return.
According to prior estimates, approximately 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine in Chinese colleges, are stuck in India after going home in December 2019, when the coronavirus broke out. Due to the Chinese government’s limitations imposed to prevent the spread of the disease, they were unable to return to China.
Over 12,000 Indian students have expressed a desire to return, and their information has been forwarded to Chinese officials for processing.
Given the country’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases, China has yet to come up with a criterion for allowing students to return since Beijing is cautious about allowing such a large number of people to return at once.
Despite providing visa services to Indians, China has yet to express its intentions to expand aviation facilities between the two countries. As a result, only the two countries’ ambassadors presently fly through the expensive third-country routes.
The issuing of visas by China, on the other hand, has sparked hope that aviation services between the two nations could be reinstated shortly. In addition, students from friendly countries such as Pakistan, Thailand, the Solomon Islands, and, most recently, Sri Lanka have been allowed to return to China.