On 1 October 2013, it was announced that the list of activities for business visitors to the UK had expanded. This comes during the time Chancellor George Osborne revealed new relaxed visa rules for Chinese nationals visiting the UK. We previously reported that in a trade trip to China, Chancellor George Osborne had announced plans for simplifying visa applications for tens of thousands of Chinese businessmen and tourists. The UK government hoped that by relaxing the UK visa rules for the Chinese, it will boost the number of visitors to the UK and more Chinese companies will be persuaded to invest in the UK.
Current Business Activities for Business Visitors to the UK
Business visitors to the UK may wish to come to the UK to do business for a short time. Some already existing activities that are allowed for business visitors are the following:
- Attending conferences or meetings;
- Arranging/negotiating/signing trade agreements or contracts;
- Undertaking fact-finding missions;
- Conducting site visits;
- Delivering goods and passengers from abroad; and
- Accompanying a tour group;
Changes to Immigration Rules for UK Business Visitors
Since 1 October 2013 the activities have expanded to:
- Allowing multinational firms to bring their own auditors to the UK; and
- Enabling business visitors to undertake corporate training in the UK delivered by an external company or do a short course of study.
Although it has been said that the category is not suitable for those who want to take up employment in the UK. This is because there is a bit of a blurred line between those that are genuinely here for a business visit and those who could be considered working because of their frequent visits to the UK.
UK Visas for Chinese Business Visitors
The managing director of Jarrang, Stafford Sumner has said, “The Chinese will find getting a UK visa easier. That’s good for business.”
And it seems Mr Sumner is right as in 2012 Britain allowed around 179,000 Chinese visitors into the UK, profiting businesses by an estimate of £300 million. It has also been reported that the difficulty of getting a UK visa from China also causes a loss to companies in the UK, for example the London’s West End alone lost £172 million last year.
As a trial test, visitors from China to the EU provided by selected travel agents will be able to come to the UK without having to make a separate visa application. Regular business travellers will be able to use a new, 24-hour “super priority” service.
The new rules are a massive opportunity for business. This means up until now, because of the difficulty of being granted a visa, Britain’s hope of attracting visitors from China was to sell the UK as a destination. Which shows the results of France responding faster and through the Schengen Agreement, giving instant access to an additional 25 European countries.
Successful UK Visa Applications for Visitors & Businessmen
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making visa applications to the UK step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.
Contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment.