Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced measures to simplify the UK visa application proces for Chinese visitors.
In Beijing today, Monday 14 October, the Chancellor announced 3 key steps, including a pilot scheme which will cut down on paperwork for Chinese visitors to the EU and UK.
Chinese nationals wanting to visit both the EU and UK will not need to submit a separate UK visa application when they book with selected Chinese travel agents.
A new 24-hour ‘super priority’ visa service is also to be made available from summer next year.
The plan also includes expansion of the VIP mobile visa service now operating in Beijing and Shanghai. This service cuts the process down to 5 minutes or less, because visa teams go to applicants to collect their completed forms and biometric data.
China is one of the UK’s priority markets for tourism and business. In 2012, 210,000 visas were issued to visiting Chinese nationals who went on to contribute around £300 million to the British economy.
Chinese students make up the largest group of foreign nationals in UK schools and universities. The UK is also the top destination for Chinese investment in Europe, attracting nearly £2 billion in the past year alone. More than 600 Chinese businesses now have a presence in the UK.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said:
‘We are continuing to attract the brightest and best to work and study in the UK, while preventing immigration abuse and bringing net migration down to the tens of thousands.
‘Our Chinese visa system already provides an excellent service and figures demonstrate that Chinese tourists are increasingly choosing to visit the UK. We will continue to make further improvements wherever possible for visitors travelling independently or as part of a group.’
The UK already offers a competitive service to Chinese visa applicants, including 12 visa application centres across China, an optional 5-day priority visa service for eligible tourists, business visitors and skilled workers, and extended opening hours in 6 application centres.
Source (UKBA Site)