Several business groups, including the UK China Visa Alliance and the Airport Operator’s Association (AOA) have suggested to the UK Government that visas for Chinese visitors to the UK should be reduced to the same price as a European Schengen visa. The idea suggested to the new No 10 Policy Board comes ahead of a planned brainstorming session today with the Prime Minister to discuss how the UK can better compete with international rivals in the ‘global race’.
Simplifying UK Visa Process for Chinese Visitors
AOA is the trade association which represents the interests of UK airports and the principal body which engages with the UK Government and regulatory authorities on airport matters. AOA have made the following recommendations to the No 10 Policy Board:
- Simplify the process by which Chinese visitors to the UK are granted a visa including by working with European partners to set up a ‘one-stop’ shop for biometrics data and visa applications;
- Reduce the cost of a UK visa so that it is the same level as a Schengen visa; and
- Reduce Air Passenger Duty.
Reduce Costs for UK Visas to Same Price as Schengen Visas
There are concerns that Britain is losing out to rival economies which are part of Schengen. Schengen visas offer entry to 26 countries in Europe, excluding Britain.
“…we believe there are steps Ministers can take to make the UK a more welcoming destination for overseas visitors who need a visa, including for example, business people, tourists, students and skilled workers from China, each of whom spend on average over £1,600 when they come here. This would provide a much needed boost to the domestic economy, and involves straightforward actions.”
Most Immigrants to UK come from China to Live & Work
Latest figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics show that 1.9 million visitor visas were issued in the year ending September 2013, 15% more (+256,367) than the previous year. Statistics show that increases were seen in visitor visas issued to Chinese (+80,755)
The rise in the number of Chinese migrants to the UK can be attributed to an increase in the number of students coming from China to study in the UK. This is a sharp contrast to the number of Indian students coming to the UK.
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