A new investment agreement struck between the EU and China permits the entry of Chinese staff into the EU to work for subsidiaries of Chinese companies. The deal was struck towards the end of last year but faced stiff opposition in the European Parliament due to China’s authoritarian treatment of pro-democracy activists and Uighur Muslims. The agreement would allow Chinese workers to enter under two categories: First, if they are specialists, such as engineers; and second, if they are responsible for establishing a new investment in Europe. Workers in the former category will be permitted to stay in the EU for up to three years, implying that a Chinese company in Europe could fill close to all its jobs with Chinese workers. The deal also prevents the EU from establishing any numerical quota on the number of Chinese workers and business visitors coming in and states that those workers must be accorded national treatment while they are in the EU. However, a spokesperson for the European Commission clarified that Chinese specialists would have to follow all local EU regulations and member states could require these workers to demonstrate their professional qualifications for the post they are being called to fill.
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