Visa rules for Chinese visitors to UK to be simplified
Under government plans, a new pilot scheme will be introduced where Chinese nationals visiting the EU will not need to submit separate UK visa applications if they use selected travel agents for their booking. There will also be a new 24 hour ‘super priority’ visa service which will be made available from summer next year.
In addition, the government is looking at the expansion of the successful VIP mobile visa service, currently operating in Beijing and Shanghai, to all of China. This service enables visa teams to go to applicants to collect their completed forms and biometric data, with the whole process taking less than five minutes.
China is one of the UK’s priority markets for tourism and business. According to government figures, 210,000 visas were issued to visiting Chinese nationals in 2012 who then went on to contribute around £300 million to the British economy.
The UK is also the number one destination for Chinese investment in Europe, attracting nearly £2 billion in the last year alone and more than 600 Chinese businesses who now have a presence in the UK.
Mr Osborne said: "These changes will streamline and simplify the visa application process for Chinese visitors, while ensuring the system is strong and secure. This is good news for British business and tourism."
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