China’s Ministry of Public Security announced on Tuesday measures that should make it easier for nearly 8 million mainlanders get a visa to visit either Macau, Hong Kong or Taiwan as part of a tour group, reported several media outlets.
The new rules affect 7.8 million people that have previously applied for such a visa, but had to return to the place in China where they were officially registered as living in order to get such an exit permit, said officials during a press briefing held in Beijing on Tuesday. The new rules come in on September 1.
China has millions of migrant workers employed not in their city of official registration, but in another part of the country, and this can cause complications when it comes to access to government services in the place of migration.
Around 2.7 million mainland China residents will also be allowed under other new rules announced on Tuesday to renew another document – known as the “Exit-entry permit for travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau”; or where relevant a permit allowing movement to and from Taiwan – in the city where they currently live, rather than in the city where they have their official citizen registration, the latter known in Mandarin as their place of “hukou”. Additionally, those citizens will be permitted to renew their passports in the place they currently live.
In March 2016, China’s Ministry of Public Security had announced a policy that enabled some of the country’s better-off internal migrants to apply for an Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) permit for trips to Macau and Hong Kong via the city in which they were currently living. But the measure was only available in cities above county level that issue residence permits to domestic migrant workers, the ministry said at the time. The IVS exit visa programme is limited to selected Chinese cities deemed to have high levels of social and economic development.
For the first seven months of this year, of the 19.85 million people that visited Macau, nearly 70 percent or 13.9 million of them were from mainland China, according to the city’s Statistics and Census Service. During the period, a total of 6.84 million mainland Chinese visitors came to Macau with an IVS permit, a tally that has grown by nearly 13 percent when compared to the prior-year period.
From January to June, more than 3.3 million mainland Chinese travelled to Macau on package tours, which was 13.8 percent more than the prior-year period, according to latest available official data. About a third of those 3.3 million Chinese package tourists were from neighbouring Guangdong province, which has one of the highest figures in China for provincial gross domestic product.
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Analyst at Morningstar Asia