ISLAMABAD - The Chinese embassy in Islamabad has hired two female Pakistani employees to facilitate the Urdu-speaking visa applicants.

Director of the Consular Section Yang Lianchun said that more Pakistani staff have been hired in his section and taken responsibilities of facilitating the applicants, such as frequently helping to bridge the gap in language barriers for Urdu-speaking applicants.

“All of our consular officers speak English only. When we have interviews with Urdu-speaking applicants who visit China for the first time, we will sometimes reject them as we can’t make sure of their visit purposes due to language barriers. However, Pakistani employees can not only help lessen the applicants’ emotional anxiety but solve the problem easily,” he said.

Hiring more Pakistani staff in the consular section is actually under the instructions of Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, said Lianchun.

“Since his arrival, the ambassador has especially taken steps to facilitate Chinese visa application. His constant meetings with the chambers of commerce and industries won huge support from the local business community,” he said.

Lianchun said the ambassador always advocated promoting mutual understanding, exchanges and cooperation between the two peoples which is the key point for developing the all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Pakistan.

“The ambassador stresses that all consular officers of the embassy must enhance their awareness of service to make visa applicants feel our warmth and friendliness and make it easier for Pakistani friends to get Chinese visas,” Lianchun said.

Since April 1, the Chinese embassy has implemented a new policy for female and male visas. According to the new rules, those applicants who have visited China more than three times since January 1, 2016, who work for the companies registered in local chambers, or who hold passports with marks of a government officer or government employee are exempted from submitting barcode invitation letters. These invitation letters are usually issued by Chinese local governments or big enterprises and difficult to obtain.

According to statistics, the visa issuance volume from April 1 to June 15 rose 11 percent over the same period of the previous year, among which the business visa volume reached around 15,000, a growth of 19 percent.

Lianchun reiterated that the embassy processed visas for Pakistanis on the basis of international conventions and the principle of reciprocity.

“As a major pilot project under One Belt and Road Initiative, the CPEC is the most important and best-performing project. We’ll further ease our visa policy to contribute more to the development of the CPEC,” he said.

The ambassador, Lianchun said, believed that China’s easing visa policy would facilitate bilateral trade and help address the problem of trade imbalance.

The Chinese embassy, he said, was fully ready for the coming seasonal visa peak. “We’re planning to arrange more Pakistani employees to receive visa applicants. Multiple visas with a longer period of validity are available to those businessmen who have good entry and exit records. We can also provide urgent visa service when required.” Lianchun said.

The trade chambers, he said, has highly appreciated the recent steps taken by the Ambassador. “This new policy has greatly benefited the local businessmen. It gives my company a good chance for international exposure. Some clients are very interested in my products placed many orders with me. I believe many businessmen like me have exploited their markets in China.”