Work Visa Lawyers was selected and invited to participate in the recent South Australia trade delegation to the Shandong province in China. It was a privilege to be part of the 250-strong delegation and the only Australia migration services provider on the trip. The Department of State Development did a fantastic job arranging the programme and logistics for such a large group of people. The trade delegation visited the cities of Jinan and Qingdao in Shandong from 24 to 28 May. We also did an additional visit to the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong independently from the 28 to 31 May.
The programme started with the South Australia Premier, the Honourable Jay Weatherill MP providing a briefing to the delegates who have arrived in the city of Jinan. There was a strong emphasis on the collaboration and win-win cooperation between the two sister states. Briefings were also given by:
- Minister of Trade and Investment, the Hon. Martin Hamilton-Smith
- National Vice President, Australia China Business Council, Sean Keenihan
- Executive Director, Investment, Trade and Immigration, Department of State Development, Matt Johnson
After the briefings delegates were separated by industry and had introductions to all members in the respective groups. Work Visa Lawyers were placed under the Services Stream throughout the Forum. A run-through of the schedule for the next couple of days was also carried out.
25 May 2015
The morning ceremony started with opening remarks by the Governor of Shandong, Shuqing Guo and the Premier of South Australia, the Honourable Jay Weatherill MP. Following the opening speeches, signing ceremonies were carried between 4 different groups of China and South Australian businesses.
Delegates from South Australia and attendees from the Chinese side then broke into the respective industry streams and held presentations that were specific to the industry. Interestingly there were a lot of presentations on environmental services with focus on water and sewage treatment, which is not surprising for a rapidly industrialised nation with concerns of pollution and waste management.
Work Visa Lawyers Principal Migration Agent and Lawyer Chris Johnston and Cultural Liaison Officer Sean Choong at the morning ceremony
After a lunch session delegates resumed the meetings by stream and conducted 1-1 business matching arranged by the Department of State Development. This was followed by the Gala Dinner which included cultural performance by South Australian and Shandong artists.
26 May 2015
After breakfast and checking out of the Shandong Hotel we made our way to board the high-speed train that connects Jinan to Qingdao, the home of Haier, Hisense and Tsingtao. The distance of approximately 360 kilometres was covered by the train in approximately 2 hours 30 minutes (averages out to be around 144km/h).
Chris Johnston with the high speed train
Upon arrival in Qingdao it was back to work immediately as we met up with the President of Qingdao Syndicate International Economic and Technical Cooperation Co. Ltd., Mr Yu Liang Chen about the supply of skilled workers to Australia. Even though both parties have corresponded for a long time via electronic channels, it was great to meet each other in person to have an in-depth discussion about collaboration for a mutually beneficial partnership.
Chris Johnston with Mr Chen in Qingdao
Being common practice in China we were then invited to have dinner with Mr Chen and his colleagues as part of extending the local hospitality. It was a bountiful and gracious dinner by the host and we are very thankful for that.
27 May 2015
Similar to the opening ceremony in Jinan, the morning session opened with opening remarks by the Mayor of Qingdao, Xinqi Zhang and the Premier of South Australia. Signing ceremonies were then carried out and a free and open business matching session was held for attendees of the forum to speak with South Australian businesses that were of interest.
Following the business matching session a lunch session was held for delegates and invited attendees of the forum in Qingdao. The luncheon marked the closing of the forum and delegates either returned to Adelaide the next day, or went on to other cities in China for their own business development activities. Work Visa Lawyers headed to Guangzhou the next day.
The luncheon at the Shangri-la Hotel in Qingdao
Members of the Services Stream for the Forum
28 - 31 May 2015
Upon completion of the programme with the Department of State Development, we did an additional visit to the city of Guangzhou in the Guangdong province. During our time in Guangzhou we met with individuals interested in migrating to Australia as well as businesses in Guangzhou who are related to and interested in the services of Australian migration. We also managed to conduct a presentation at one of the largest English training schools in China, Wall Street English.
Chris Johnston introducing Australia to the students at Wall Street English
We were very fortunate to have the hospitality of the General Manager of the Doubletree by Hilton in Guangzhou, Chris Roberts who is a fellow South Australian. He extended extra care and consideration to Work Visa Lawyers and facilitated us in meeting our business obejctives.
The hospitality provided by Chris Roberts
Return to Adelaide and Findings from the Visit to China
A 13-hour flight brought us back to Adelaide from Guangzhou and it was a bit of a long journey. However it was extremely beneficial to have been invited by the Department of State Development of South Australia to participate in the largest Australian trade delegation to China since the completion of negotiations for the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) in November 2014.
With particular focus on Shandong and South Australia, there are definitely many areas of collaboration that will bring benefit to both regions. The initiative taken by the Department of State Development and Australia-China business associations such as the Australia China Business Council has done an excellent job of building the bridge for South Australian businesses to reach potential clients, partners or investors in Shandong and beyond. Work Visa Lawyers commends the effort and work done by those involved in the planning and execution of the 2nd South Australian-Shandong Economic and Cooperation Development Forum. We look forward to be part of the delegation again next year. See you again soon China!