BVI Update: New Visa Exemption Order for Chinese Nationals
China has been one of the BVI’s biggest trading partners for several years and BVI companies are often used by Chinese nationals as structures for investments.
According to a recent report on BVI's Global Contribution conducted by independent economics consultancy Capital Economics, as of December 2016, almost two fifths of all BVI business companies are located in China and the rest of Asia.
Upon recognizing the significant ties between the two countries, the BVI government has recently taken active legislative measurements to make visiting of BVI easier for Chinese individuals.
More precisely, the visa exemption order dated 5 July 2018, under Section 37(4) of the Immigration and Passport Acts, allows Chinese nationals to visit BVI for business activities without having to apply for the necessary visa, subject to a maximum stay of six months.
The Work Permit Exemption, which previously exempted several categories of persons from the necessity of obtaining a work permit, subject to visa requirements now added the following new exemptions:
persons who are visiting clients and business deals
persons who are attending meetings as directors, including persons who are duly appointed directors or other officers of companies whether incorporated in BVI or elsewhere for the sole purpose of participating in meetings of the board of directors of such companies; and
persons who are attending meetings, conferences, seminars and other similar business related activities offered by BVI registered businesses, statutory bodies, non-government organisations and other BVI-registered entities.
BVI registered businesses and entities will now only require to provide persons exempted under the Work Permit Exemption with a letter of invitation issued by the management of the registered BVI entity. Such letters must be addressed to the exempted person and clearly state their title, date of expected arrival, the duration of stay and of course purpose of their visit and the amount of the fees charged or to be paid to anyone to be exempted
The BVI has implemented these developments in the scope of attracting and retaining business from mainland China and support its growth.
Source: Mondaq, Fiona Chan and Huiyan Liew