It’s been more than two years since China closes its borders with an aim to keep the COVID-19 out. In 2020, most of the graduate students went back home to see family members and still unable to return China due to border closure. Despite the pandemic, research work continued specifically in labs where the grant associated deadlines were approaching. While, a lot of students graduated by giving online dissertation defense at home.
On the other side, China border closure affected the career progression of young researchers from under-developed countries like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Postdoctoral training is a stage at which early career researchers decides either to continue the academia or to shift towards another career. Uncertain job conditions in academics due to the pandemic have let the graduate aspirants to leave the academia and switch to other industries. Longer border closure has also seriously affected the mental health of graduates as the aspirant faced unemployment and other social issues. Frustration levels continue to increase as the researchers are loosing the hope for normal working of aviation industry.
Chinese consulate in some countries announced that the passengers who have received Chinese made vaccines (Sinopharm, Pfizer, Sinovac) can apply for visa, but there are no specific briefings about international young scholars. The wordings for eligibility are “family members who come to China for resumption activities (business work, visit etc.)”. Thus, resuming the border for young scholars is not valid at this point. Early career researchers are also worried about their investments in degrees due to unemployment and lack of guidance from Chinese government about border opening.
Apart from this, some Asian and African scholars are still in China and they are not going back to their home for family visit. As the China policies are strict regarding entrance into China, thus the aspirants inside China are facing the frustration and some changes in mood. Lastly, proper strategies are urgently required regarding border opening by concerning the future of early career researchers.