New Zealanders should be able to travel to China without a visa, but not for longer than five days, the Immigration Department says.
“You can’t stay longer than 10 days and if you’re going to China, you need to get permission from the Chinese authorities before you can do that,” Immigration Minister Chris Hipkins said.
A number of countries, including the US and Britain, allow visa-free travel to and from China.
Immigration Minister Chris Gibson said the government would be “very cautious” about giving tourists and expats in China visas for the long-term.
But he said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would look into visa restrictions in the region.
China’s economy is growing rapidly and there are growing demand for skilled labour, he said.
“That’s what’s pushing the trade to China and we will be very careful about what we do and what we don’t do.”
China’s visa system was designed for a temporary influx of workers in the early 2000s.
The current system allows a visa to be issued for up to five days for visitors, but can be extended for up “to 10 days” by the Chinese government.
The visa is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Trade, which is run by the People’s Liberation Army, and is available for up for six months.
It is valid for a maximum of three years.
If a visitor or expat wishes to visit China for more than five years, they will need to obtain a visa for the period.
This would allow the visitor to remain in China for up-to-three-years, if they wish to do so.
Chinese citizens need a visa in order to visit a country other than China for tourism or for business.
In the past, some Chinese nationals had been granted a visa if they met certain criteria.
Last year, China issued visas to two Chinese nationals, including a former Australian spy.
One of the men was a former spy who had been detained in China, while the other was a student at the University of Sydney.
Both had travelled to China for work, the ABC has reported.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chris Gibb said the visa issue had been raised with the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand, but it was not yet clear what action the government was taking.
“We will look at any measures that the Chinese Government might take,” he said in a statement.
Gibb said Chinese diplomats had been in contact with his office and had asked for further information.