This month, the European Commission (EC) announced changes to the EU’s Schengen visa system which will simplify procedures and benefit those coming to the EU for short visits. The proposals aim to make it easier for legitimate tourists and business people from countries such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia to visit countries which are part of the 26 nation Schengen agreement. The EC’s plans have caused concern amongst UK businesses who have warned that the UK, who is not a member of the Schengen agreement, is in danger of losing out on an even greater number of high spending wealthy tourists to rival economies.
European Commission Improves Schengen Visa System
In their statement released this month, the EC recognised that many non-EU nationals wishing to travel to the EU were often faced with lengthy and costly visa procedures. The EC cited recent studies which showed that up to 6.6 million potential travellers were “lost” because of lengthy visa procedures and that flexibility in the rules could significantly boost visitor numbers.
This has led to them proposing changes which will include reducing the maximum amount of time to process a Schengen visa from 15 days to 10 and simplifying the application form which could encourage an increase of up to 60% of visits to Schengen nations.
The EC stated that the changes will “boost economic activity and job creation in…the tourism sector as well as in related activities such as restaurant and transport industries.”
UK Tourism Expected to be Negatively Affected by EU Tourism Boost
Europe is now expecting a €130bn (£108bn) boost to the Schengen economy over 5 years, with the addition of 1.3 million jobs in the tourism and related industries. This has caused concern that the proposed improvements will harm UK businesses by driving more tourists into rival countries. UK businesses have long campaigned for the government to simplify visa procedures for tourists, especially for visitors from China who are now the highest spending tourists in the world.
British Airways parent, International Airlines Group stated that while the UK claims to be “open for business”, it makes it very hard and expensive for the Chinese to do business here which is costing the UK jobs and growth.
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making an application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.
We also undertake a great deal of appeal work before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and have a successful track record of successful results for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully. If you have had an application refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.
Contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment.