On December 11th, we will present two live sessions of the webinar To & From China: Immigration and Travel Visa Trends and Best Practices. With the importance of the topic for international business in the current global climate, the webinar is being presented twice to accommodate attendees across time zones. The speakers will be presenting live from Shanghai. The sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, December 11th at 10am China Standard Time (CST) and December 11th at 9am Eastern Time (ET) / 2pm Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The webinar presenters will be Wendy Xie, Managing Director for China, Edward Hu, Deputy General Manager for CIBT’s new joint venture in China with Shanghai Foreign Service Group (FSG), and Nan Piao, Director of Global Account Management. Newland Chase Global Legal Analyst, Kent O’Neil, recently had a chance to speak with Wendy, Edward, and Nan in Shanghai as they prepared for the webinar. Below is just a taste of that conversation. To get more, you’ll have to register for the webinar here.
Kent: “To set the stage for attendees of the webinar, let me kick things off with just a general query: Why a webinar on China right now?”
Wendy: “The opening of the new joint venture between CIBT and FSG is obviously the major event driving us right now. It will give our clients unrivaled access to visas and immigration both inbound to and outbound from China.”
Nan: “But it is also timely in that this is taking place during a period where China’s visa and immigration system is undergoing such a significant opening to foreign talent.”
Edward: “Also, the great growth of the Chinese economy over the past decade and the increase in Chinese companies’ involvement in the rest of the world is greatly increasing the demand for visas and immigration both inbound and outbound.”
New Joint Venture in China
Kent: “Like most of our attendees, I’ve been following a lot of the changes in Chinese immigration policy over the last couple years, and we’ll chat about those in a bit… but let’s talk first about this new joint venture. What is it and what’s the significance for our clients operating in China?”
Wendy: “It’s essentially a new entity that we formed in China to better serve our clients. Both those located outside China who send employees to China and those located within China needing to send employees outbound to the rest of the world. The joint venture between CIBT and FSG allows us greater access and reach throughout China for both inbound and outbound services. Immediately it expands our China team almost fourfold. We’ll be able to provide the full service offering of both CIBT brands – Newland Chase and CIBTvisas – throughout China.”
Kent: “For those in the west who may be attending the webinar and may not be familiar with FSG – Edward, can you give them an idea of who FSG is?”
Edward: “In China, FSG is well known; but you are correct that many outside of China may not be as familiar. Shanghai Foreign Service Group, or FSG, is the leading Chinese provider of human resources services in China – including one-stop solutions for visas and immigration, human resources, business agency, and human resources management consulting. FSG serves 85 percent of the Fortune Global 500 enterprises in China and more than 2.3 million employees across 30,000 enterprises.”
Kent: “So the joint venture is essentially the marriage of the largest provider of global visa and immigration services and the largest provider of human resources services in China?”
Nan: “Exactly. What it means for our clients outside of China is greater access and support to all areas of China.”
Wendy: “The easier access and feedback channel with government authorities will allow us to better facilitate applications for clients and contribute to the development of China immigration law and process going forward.”
Edward: “Chinese companies are increasingly sending employees on assignments outside China. This gives them access to high-quality immigration and visa services to more than 190 countries around the world.”
(More details on the opening of the new CIBT and FSG joint venture and its services and capabilities can be found on a special resource page here.)
China’s Opening Immigration Policy
Kent: “Shifting gears to some of the recent developments in immigration in China, and without giving too much of your webinar content away – what are some of the more significant changes you’re seeing?”
Edward: “In the general inbound immigration landscape in China, we’ve seen big changes since 2017. I believe we’re seeing the Chinese government acknowledge the importance that foreign talent is playing in China’s long-term growth. They recognize the vitality and innovation that foreign talent injects into the business environment.”
Wendy: “Definitely. It is a very friendly immigration environment right now for highly skilled foreign nationals. The changes we’ve seen are designed to encourage talented foreign nationals to consider working in China. We’re seeing a real openness by government authorities to our suggestions on how to improve the process for our clients.”
Edward: “The twelve new immigration policies that were introduced in August of this year are a good example. All of them are intended as stimulus to attract and retain foreign talent. We’ll be covering those in detail in the webinar.”
Nan: “Also, I believe the changes to encourage foreign nationals to qualify for longer-term residence permits and to obtain Permanent Residency in China are very significant in showing a long-term desire on the part of the Chinese government for foreign nationals to become part of life and business in China.”
Kent: “So what I’m hearing is that there are a lot of positive signs and improvements in China immigration policy. Have authorities solved all the problems? Does China now have an easy visa and immigration process?”
Edward: “With China immigration rules constantly evolving right now, it creates somewhat of a challenge to keep up with new processes and requirements. We work to maintain strong relationships with authorities to successfully navigate all the changes.”
Wendy: “There has been an effort to standardize processes across all regions. In general, the processes are becoming more centralized, with better access to records and information.”
Nan: “Entry procedures are certainly becoming more convenient.”
Wendy: “However, there is still quite a lot of variation in rules and applications. This variation is between different provinces and cities, but it can even vary between different offices in the same city. The differences can be in the way authorities interpret new rules, processes, and requirements. You really have to be familiar with all the different jurisdictions.”
Kent: “Not intending to get controversial, but I suppose we should at least touch on the proverbial “elephant in the room”. With the current trade disputes between the U.S. and China, are you seeing any adverse impact on western applicants for visas to China?”
Wendy: “There is definitely no “closing of doors” to western travelers and immigration. It is too integral to China’s economic growth plans. There may be a bit more caution or scrutiny of applications by authorities in the current environment, as they want to make sure the rules are being followed. However, for companies and employees that are well informed and compliant with the rules and processes, we really are not seeing any negative impact.”
Nan: “If anything, it just emphasizes the need for a strong immigration partner and maintaining compliance with the applicable laws.”
About Wendy, Edward and Nan
As readers have probably already gathered from their insights above, Wendy, Edward, and Nan are consummate professionals, experts on China visas and immigration, and closely attuned to the current political and business climate in China. Combined, their experience amounts to more than 30 years in China and global immigration.
Wendy is Newland Chase-FSG’s Managing Director for China, where she leads the company’s corporate immigration service delivery in China. Wendy joined the company after a ten-year career with a leading global immigration law firm, where she served most recently as Director for China. In addition to her expertise in Chinese inbound and outbound immigration, Xie is both a qualified solicitor and registered migration agent in Australia.
Edward is Deputy General Manager for the new joint venture and comes from FSG in Shanghai. He will oversee the overall management, client relationships, and business development for immigration cases in the China operations. Based in Shanghai, Edward has over 18 years’ experience in both Chinese immigration and outbound from China visa services and led the FSG Visa Service Center in Shanghai for 17 of those years.
Nan Piao, Director of Global Account Management for CIBTvisas-FSG, focuses on creating and implementing solutions for the international travel needs of many of the world’s largest Fortune 500 corporations. Nan has a decade of experience in the business travel and visas industry and has been instrumental in developing the organization’s travel visa services in China. He holds an MBA in International Business.
Outbound Visa Services for Chinese Companies
Kent: “Before we talk more about the three of you and your backgrounds, I see in the webinar description that you are covering both inbound and outbound topics. I asked you mostly about changes in visas and immigration in China. But this webinar is also aimed at companies in China that are seeking greater access to business visas and work and residence authorization in other countries as well, correct?”
Nan: “You’re correct. The demand for outbound visas from China is one of the fastest growing segments of the global business travel industry.”
Edward: “With the expanding economy and initiatives like the “belt and road”, Chinese companies and employees are increasingly traveling abroad for work and business. While we won’t be able cover all 190+ countries where we’ll be able to support them with visas and immigration, we are going to cover some general global trends and guidance for Chinese business travel abroad.”
Kent: “We’ve covered a lot of ground in our chat. I like to give webinar attendees a little insight into our speakers. Just give me one quick thing you like about your career in global mobility?”
Wendy: “I learn something new every week – sometimes it’s a new aspect of Chinese immigration. Other times it’s about a new country or aspect of immigration where a company is sending someone.”
Edward: “It’s that for me too, and it’s also about helping people. It’s not just a business service, but making someone’s work or life better or easier.”
Wendy: “Since, Edward borrowed part of my response, I’ll add his too. The people make it rewarding.”
Nan: “I agree with both Wendy’s and Edward’s. I also like the aspect of being able to interact with professionals in so many different industries and verticals. Being a problem solver, coming up with creative solutions for global organizations.”
Kent: “So you all three love your jobs. Nevertheless, if tomorrow all your bills were paid and you had to pick something else to do – what would you do?”
Nan: “That’s easy. Professional golfer. I was a 7 handicap at one point when I had the time and played 90 rounds a year, but I don’t think I could shoot that now”
Edward: “Firstly I would travel. Start with Southeast Asia, probably Thailand and South Korea. Eventually the rest of the world. I would also study psychology and maybe work to help people that way. There just seems to be so many people needing help who are struggling with depression in modern society.”
Kent: “Well, I guess you already know the best place to get your visas.”
Join us on December 11th
That is just a sample of the speakers you’ll meet in our next webinar and some of the insights they will be sharing. Please join us for more on December 11th when Wendy, Edward, and Nan present To & From China: Immigration and Travel Visa Trends and Best Practices. Registration is already on track to be one of our most popular webinars, but registration is still open. Sign up here. As mentioned above, there are two live sessions offered in an attempt to accommodate attendees across different time zones. If neither time fits your schedule, feel free to register regardless; all registrants will receive an on-demand recording of one of the live sessions afterward by email.
CIBT Inc. is the leading global provider of immigration and visa services for corporations and individuals with over 1,700 expert immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and qualified migration consultants located in over 70 offices in 25 countries.
With thirty years of experience, CIBT is the primary service provider to 75% of Fortune 500 companies. CIBT offers a comprehensive suite of services under two primary brands: Newland Chase, a wholly owned subsidiary focused on global immigration strategy and advisory services for corporations worldwide and CIBTvisas, a market leader for business and other travel visa services for corporate and individual clients. In China, the new joint venture will offer services as Newland Chase-FSG and CIBTvisas-FSG.