May 10, 2021 06:54 PM

EU Firms in China Are Struggling to Hire Staff From Abroad, Chamber Says

What’s new: European companies are having problems with hiring people from overseas for their China operations due to the country’s strict Covid-19 border controls, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China officials told Caixin at a press conference Saturday.

Although European companies in China can hire locals, some of their new projects in high-end manufacturing and biopharmaceuticals still require skilled overseas professionals who are familiar with new technologies, said Jörg Wuttke, the chamber’s president.

However, the latest wave of the coronavirus in India might make China more reluctant about relaxing its border controls any time soon, Wuttke said.

The background: A July survey conducted by the European chamber’s Shanghai chapter showed that 56% of 143 responding companies still had foreign staff unable to return to China. Only about 18% of the respondents said all their foreign staff had returned.

Due to the staffing situation, large multinationals may see their efficiency reduced or some parts of their businesses suspend operations, while small and midsize enterprises tend to be more reliant on a foreign chief representative or one or two foreign experts that are central to their businesses, the European chamber said in a position paper released in September. “Their long-term absence is less a matter of profitability, and more the actual survival of the company,” it said.

Related: Charts of the Day: EU Companies in China Struggle With Staff Stranded Overseas

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi ( and editor Michael Bellart (

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