Just spoke to Magic, a well known consultant in Shanghai, about the current mess and it seems that the door opened again on the 16th… theoretically
Take a look at the update he has on his site. He told me that he has still yet to confirm everything as apparently the numbers are all busy right now, but as things change he will continue to update his site.
On a seperate, but related issue, I have heard from a number of sources that at the Canton Fair (the biggest fair ever), you can hear crickets. Attendance levels are off 30% or more, and some of the manufacturers we have spoken with decided not to attend last minute as they have heard that it is bad…
Will be interesting to look back in three years to see what the impact will be, but as many buyers had their visas rejected in HK, it is pretty clear that this policy is going to have an economic impact from reduced orders, loss of hotel revenue, etc..
The above-mentioned update on VisaInChina (who we suspect is laughing his way to the bank right now), in case you’re too lazy to click around:
Q11. Olympic comes, Government tight the visa policy. How can I continue staying here legally?
A: First, you should know all those visa restrictions are for the Olympic, After the Olympic. the rules will become normal. So now the question is how to get a visa till Olympic finished( till Oct.). F visa is not a good choise because the government has already make it very difficult. L visa and Z visa will be the only option, Here is the plan we suggest:
For the people who are not working here in Shanghai:
Go to HK get 1 month L visa, and come back to shanghai, we can extend those L visa twice and each time 1 month (our E1 service), so total 3 month, then goto HK again, repeat this procedure untill the Olympic finish. Just notice you have to register yourself everytime after you come back from HK.
For the people who are working here in Shanghai:
Apply the 1 year working permit and 1 year residence permit through your employer (our S9 service).
Or you can also setup your own company here in shanghai. Then you can easily get the working visa done. More details about setting up a company or rep office in Shanghai, Please check www.PathToChina.com
The South China Morning Post (behind paywall) has more details of the changes in China visa regulations in Hong Kong:
Travel agents say all travellers – including those taking trips to Shenzhen – must show return travel tickets and hotel vouchers to get a visa; that visitors from 33 countries can no longer get visas in Hong Kong but must apply in their home countries; and that a new visa has replaced the short-stop visa for Shenzhen.
At least one business traveller has been stranded in Hong Kong by the restrictions, which were disclosed on Monday to travel agency couriers and came into effect on Tuesday.
The rules have been issued by the Commissioner’s Office of the Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong.
Among the 33 countries whose nationals, travel agents say, can no longer get visas in Hong Kong are Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Nigeria and Turkey. The ban does not apply to people from these countries living in Hong Kong.
The changes come days after travel agents said they had been told on March 27 that no new multiple-entry visas would be issued until October. In addition, immigration offices at the border stopped issuing short-stay visas to Shenzhen on April 1, when the commissioner’s office took over the issuing of all visas.
Also, concerns from the Hong Kong business community:
The moves have provoked acute concern from chambers of commerce, who fear the interests of Hong Kong companies will be damaged.
Daryl Bending, senior travel consultant with Concorde Travel, said: “We were told late on Monday with pretty much immediate effect that anyone wishing to travel to any mainland destination was required to have a copy of the airline ticket and the hotel voucher before they apply for a visa.
“We were also told about a new visa for entering Shenzhen, which will effectively replace the on-the-spot Shenzhen visa that used to be issued at the border.
“Previously, if you went up to the border you could get a visa there, which was for approximately five days. We were told on Tuesday that the hotel voucher and proof-of-travel requirement would also apply to Shenzhen whether the passenger goes by boat, train or car.”
Mr Bending said: “I think the restrictions will deter some foreign tourists from travelling to China at all and … put an end to much of the casual traffic from Hong Kong to Shenzhen for shopping and recreation.”
If you are still trying to get your China visa from Hong Kong, you have to know this:
The Commissioner’s Office yesterday released a statement confirming that a return ticket and a hotel voucher was required for a tourist visa and an additional “visa notification form” for a business visa. It said the measure was “to spare applicants unnecessary trouble”.
This is what we received from a reader in Hong Kong:
I just returned from handing in my visa application to China in Hong Kong. China Travel Service insisted on getting a copy of my ticket to China and my hotel reservation. I had my reservations in hand, but the CTS travel agent said that people sometimes print both off Internet and CTS will not ask too many questions. A friend applying for a visa with another travel agent was told that for a small fee (100 HKD) the HK travel agent would create a fake ticket for them. Seems there are still some ways around the system.
And this has also just been sent in from another reader. Kinda long, but we’ll post it here anyway. There’s some really useful information which will be of help to those of you going to Hong Kong:
This new visa issuance policy, which keeps changing every few days, has been driving me nuts and adversely impacts my ability- and desire- to remain here longer.
HK travel/visa agencies have thoughtfully tripled their rates in order to better mass rape people with fees leading up to the Olympics.
I’ve just returned from Hong Kong, so let me pass along a few caveats to you and your readers–
New Astor Travel (Carnarvon Road)–
I used to use them, for years in fact, but they jack prices up whenever possible. But even in the beginning, it was always a situation where they pick a price that’s high and you have to bargain, which is bullshit. But when a long-time customer (that would be me) asked why they suddenly raised their prices so dramatically, the response was “The price is whatever I tell you it is.” I didn’t visit them this last HK trip, of course, but wanted to stress that they’re absolute bastards. They may not still be in business, and they certainly should not be. Never give these people your business.
China Travel Service H.K. Limited– (Nathan Road)
After wasting a fair amount of my time and expecting me to put up with a really shit attitude from the woman (manager) I might add– even though they’re ripping everyone off on fees– this bitch tells me that because I came in from China, I cannot get a visa here to go back to China. She’s not a bitch for telling me that bit of information, but because of the attitude- which was practically venomous. As if I’m wasting her time with my silly notion of actually using their company for the main service they provide. Also she’s like “it’s not my problem”– and tells me, “You go here, they change the rules not me, not my problem. Next.” She hands me one of a stack of photocopied pieces of paper with some China govt. office in Wanchai, and waves me away from her like some insect. Again, never give these people your business. Last thing I want to mention about this company– a number of other people who came back for pick-up of their passports/visas were told they were denied. I don’t recall if they were given refunds or not, but I would suspect that they were not, given that excellent attention to customer service I experienced at China Travel Service H.K. Limited.
Shoestring Travel (also in Tsimshatsui), however, was able to get an L visa for me- single entry, good for 30 days on one visit. For 1750 HKD. I had it in my hands the next afternoon, but actually the visa was processed on the same day I submitted it. I feel like I should press charges for rape, because I definitely have been, but I was simply glad that I got the visa and was able to return to my life here. For 30 days. Fantastic.
The final thing I want to say is that I’m surprised that the media isn’t covering these business practices more. SCMP and others have touched on the issue– and that Ministry spokeswoman lying through her teeth about nothing being changed– but it’s kind of sad that I need to keep checking VisainChina.com to see useful updates on the government policies. And the rip-off that HK has become… someone really needs to write about this, expose this. They were turning a profit when L visas were offered at 600 HKD. Now that they’ve tripled this rate, it’s pure greed.
(Sorry for my rather liberal use of the words ‘rape’ and the implication of being violated. They’re strong words, I know, but apt.)
Well I’m now days behind in what I was supposed to be working on, and down about $1000 in airfare, hotel, visa and lost income. If it’s not possible to extend my L here- or to find someone who can provide the documentation for an F- then I feel as if the life I’ve built for myself here (about 1/4 of my life spent here), is being taken away.
Previously on Shanghaiist
No more Hong Kong and Macau visa runs?
Getting your F visa: Even magic won’t work now!
The multiple-entry F visa goes on holiday for the Olympics
China tightening F visa applications?
Photo from Heidi D