There was talk of the middle to end of September. Then they said after the National Day holiday, for sure. Now there are rumors about the middle to end of October. Nobody, it seems, can say exactly if and when the China visa situation will return to normal.
A Hong Kong travel agent today gave the following verdict: Things are back to normal, but not quite how you might have expected. Those with a Hong Kong ID card and work permit can get one-year or six-month multi-entry business visas for the mainland – but each visit can last no longer than 30 days. Those without a Hong Kong ID are stuck with the single or double entry visas.
This, apparently, is normal for applications from Hong Kong. Things become complicated when you consider that a lot of visas issued in Hong Kong prior to the restrictions were actually issued in Shenzhen. It was the Shenzhen visa office that had license to issue six-month multi-entry visas to all and sundry, and with no time limit on the length of each visit. According to the travel agent, Shenzhen is no longer allowed to issue these visas.
If the full dubious history of this visa saga is anything to go by, the word of one Hong Kong travel agent is not enough – so we would welcome any further input. But it appears we may have to wait a little longer before things really do return to normal.
(Anyone relying on a resumption of normal business so they can return to running their not-properly-registered – and therefore not-properly-tax-paying – China-based operations, should take a look at these words of warning from our legal columnist Steve Dickinson, which originally appeared in the June issue of CER.)