Mainland optimizes exit-entry services for Taiwan compatriots
Published: Nov 06, 2023 12:48 PM
Mainlanders point to the Kinmen Islands from a beach in Xiamen,Fujian Province.Photo; VCG

Mainlanders point to the Kinmen Islands from a beach in Xiamen,Fujian Province.Photo; VCG

The Chinese mainland has optimized exit-entry services for Taiwan compatriots by releasing 10 measures on Monday in a bid to add convenience for Taiwan residents living in East China's Fujian Province and deepen the integrated development across the Taiwan Straits.

The move was strongly favored by both residents from Taiwan and Fujian, saying the convenience of exit and entry responds to the wishes of the people and is a key step to further contribute to cross-Straits integrated development

The release of the 10 measures comes two months after the State Council released a new document in September that outlines supporting measures to develop Fujian into the first home for Taiwan compatriots and enterprises on the Chinese mainland. 

The country's exit and entry administration said on Monday that it will make the application for the Mainland Travel Permit of Taiwan Residents much easier and convenient by allowing the application to be completed online, through ports and through centralized method, "allowing Taiwan compatriots to come to Fujian whenever they want."

Efforts will be made to establish an entry and exit document processing center in Xiamen, and meanwhile, the processing duration for entry and exit documents for residents living in the cross-Straits city cluster - Xiamen-Kinmen and Fuzhou-Matsu - will be reduced from seven working days to five working days, according to the newly-released measures by the administration. 

An official from the administration said the 10 measures will play a positive role in promoting exchanges and interactions between people from Fujian and Taiwan, and supporting the construction of a demonstration zone for integrated development across the Taiwan Straits in Fujian. 

Cai, a resident from Taiwan who has been running a bar in Xiamen for nearly 10 years, told the Global Times the 10 measures will largely simplify procedures for them to travel between the island and Fujian. Simpler exit and entry policies will encourage more friends from Taiwan to visit the mainland and even seek careers here. 

"The business market here in Fujian is way better than on the island. My bar's revenue has doubled pre-pandemic levels in the months since the mainland lifted pandemic travel restrictions. I'm mulling opening another new bar in Xiamen," Cai said. 

Fuzhou resident Xiaoqing told the Global Times that many of his Taiwan friends have hailed the 10 measures, saying they perfectly respond to what they have been wishing for and calling them "real and practical measures to benefit Taiwan residents living in Fujian." Xiaoqing said he would love to see more Taiwan friends coming to Fujian to experience their real homeland.   

The 10 measures are part of the country's plans to explore cross-Straits integration and development. It will make exit and entry across the Straits much easier, said Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University in Fujian Province.

Wang said since the cross-Straits integration will be a long-term strategic guidance, more detailed measures including how to provide fairer education and taxation policies to Taiwan compatriots are expected to be released as the integration further proceeds. 

The 10 measures will be implemented from January 1, 2024, to further promote the exchange of personnel between Fujian and Taiwan, adding convenience of Taiwan compatriots in Fujian, and deepen integrated development in various fields across the Taiwan Straits, the administration said. 

Previously, citing improved convenience and increasing opportunities, residents on the island of Taiwan reacted positively toward making Fujian a demonstration zone for the integrated development across the Taiwan Straits which was firstly released by the State Council in September. Policies and systems will be optimized to promote the well-being of Taiwan compatriots and ensure they enjoy equal treatment with their mainland counterparts, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

In addition, according to the country's exit and entry administration that the fast clearance channel will also be opened at passenger ports to Taiwan passengers who voluntarily report their information and once it has been registered, they are able to pass through fast clearance channels nationwide. 

Online reporting and pre-inspection of immigration procedures for ships traveling between Fujian and Taiwan, including fishing vessels and small trade merchant ships from the island will be introduced, providing a 24-hour immigration clearance guarantee, the measures said. 

For those seeking to settle in Fujian, the settlement application process will be shortened from 20 working days to 10 working days. Once approved, they can proceed to apply for household registration in their intended place of settlement.

The scope of online verification services for travel cards will be expanded, meaning Taiwan residents who visit Fujian for short-term tourism, visiting relatives, or business purposes can also enjoy convenient public services such as transportation and electronic payment with their compatriot cards.