Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak (pictured in a file photo), said on Thursday that the city’s government had not been informed of any adjustment in mainland China policy regarding visas issued for trips to Macau, as had been reported by some local Chinese-language media outlets.
Mr Wong added that in cases where the mainland authorities were conducting their own legal enforcement work, they would not normally report that fact to the Macau authorities. He was being quoted by Chinese-language media, on the sidelines of a public engagement in Macau.
Brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said in a Thursday note, it had attempted to check with a variety of officials across a number of cities on the mainland, whether – as had been reported – “some mainlanders were not able to get a Macau visa approved” recently.
“We do not have enough evidence/information to draw a meaningful conclusion yet,” said analysts DS Kim, Amanda Cheng, and Livy Lyu.
Though they wrote additionally: “Our calls to various provinces/cities did suggest some cities are, at least temporarily, slowing/tightening Macau[-bound] Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) visas recently.”
However they also noted: “Different immigration officers seem to have different views on Macau visas, even within the same [mainland] city.”
JP Morgan said its checks indicated that neither the province of Guangdong next door to Macau – the main supply market for most Macau tourists – nor the provinces of Jiangsu, Sichuan, or Shandong, had any changes to IVS policy.
In Guangdong, mainland residents could “still apply for an IVS visa and get it approved via manual counter,” which the brokerage said was an approach that had seen “no change since the third quarter 2020”.
But immigration officers in some mainland cities, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Dalian, Changsha, and Wuhan, said that getting an IVS visa for Macau was – in JP Morgan’s words – “tougher these days, and we might not get the visa without having emergency reasons”. The institution said some officials cited Covid-19 precautions.
But in Hangzhou, the brokerage said it was specifically told “there’s an annual limit for Macau visas now”, and that “one can only visit Macau once a year”, with one official citing Covid-19 as the reason.
Officials in Beijing gave differing responses. Some said there was no change of policy. Some cited the need for an “emergency reason”, stated JP Morgan.
The institution added in a summary of its research on the topic: “We do not want to speculate at this point, because this could be simply related to the Covid situation.”
So far there has been no report that the mainland authorities are going to reinstate group-tour visas for visits to Macau. That visa programme was suspended in 2020, in the early phase of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.
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