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The Great Chinese Return

Education in Motion (EiM), the parent company of the Dulwich College International Schools, Dulwich International High Schools, and their sister Dehong Schools in China, faced a significant challenge in the Summer of 2022.

Their existing staff had been under Covid restrictions since 2020, therefore UK-national staff had not travelled back to the United Kingdom in more than two years. They needed time to enjoy a summer break with family and friends.

The schools also had new UK-based staff who needed to get into China for the first time. The HR teams had great Chinese contacts, but once staff were back in the UK, they needed guidance, reassurance, and information on what was required to get them back into China, during a period when visa and travel protocols were changing at a moment’s notice.

Hence the partnership with Work Abroad Legal came into being. We were EiM’s point of contact in the UK, with the mission to get their staff back into China.

The ever-changing testing requirements, airport PCR testing, and even the mass testing of 160 staff for the first direct charter flight out of the UK in months were all taken care of by Work Abroad Legal.

We worked with the testing providers to streamline the 48-hour and 24-hour tests into just one test the day before the flight. We had direct contact with the Chinese Consulate to query and resolve any issues with issuing Health Clearance Codes.

We also guided staff on transit tests in 3rd party countries, providing a 24-hour hotline to iron out any issues. The result was that 100% of the people who tested negative received a Green Code to travel, and nobody missed a flight.

Examples included making sure a family got their codes changed from red to green after a 6:30 am call, or the teacher who had incorrect testing documentation issued to them in Helsinki. We contacted the vendor and reissued the documents in the correct name, all in the space of 10 minutes after another early morning call.

Work Abroad Legal provided support If a client submitted incorrect information, paperwork, or visa information; we checked why this happened and then fixed the problems with the Chinese authorities in the UK.

The benefit to EiM was that Work Abroad Legal provided UK-based liaison that could work in the travelling staffs’ time zone to solve the many challenges the journey to China presented.

The result was 205 staff were tested and 140 dispatched to China via Direct Charter from London, along with the remaining 65 staff dispatched via connecting flights to China.

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