Revamped UK VISA scheme: an easier door for Chinese citizens

A simpler process is waiting for Chinese citizens looking for opportunities in Britain or just visiting the country for leisure.

In an effort to boost economic growth, the British government laid plans regarding the VISA rules for Chinese citizens entering the country. Chinese tourists, who spend an average of £1,600 per visit, are facing tedious steps before setting foot in the country. These includes fingerprint taking, pricey application fees and an overall lengthy process.

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to Britain, has been on talks with the idea of simplifying the process. He thinks that a more straightforward process can encourage more of his people to come to Britain.

“I think there is many opportunities and much potential for cooperation with business, and with tourists. They’re not only coming here to enjoy sight-seeing, many of them are very good shoppers. I can see them anywhere and everywhere – Harrods, Oxford Street, you name it.”

Even with the current meticulous process, still not all Chinese applicants are granted with VISA. According to the ambassador, he received reports of businessmen not being able to attend summits in the country due to their VISA applications being turned down. No adequate reasons were also provided upon the rejection of the candidates,

Not only Chinese applicants seeking to enter the country are having a hard time, even the ones that are already residing in the country. Mr. Liu said that businessmen are having difficulties designating their people due to VISA constraints, making them compare the current situation to other European countries where such processes are simplified.

“So I think visa issues really erode British strength in terms of attracting more foreign businesses, attracting talented people. So I do wish more progress will be made on this issue.”

With all of the negative effects of the current process, several large groups in Britain including the British Chambers of Commerce, the British Hospitality Association and the Institute of Directors all requested for the current VISA scheme to be changed. As it impacts the economy of the country, the business groups see it wise if potential investors can easily enter and operate inside the country as long as they have passed the requirements.

To address all of these, the British government then made changes to the current VISA regime. Prime Minister David Cameron announced last year that the process will be simplified. Chinese tourists only need to submit a single UK visa application with their chosen travel agencies. The ministers also implemented a one day processing for VISA applicants. Cutting the time of the entire process and the number of requirements needed are the initial steps in the new VISA system.

More changes will entail the reformed VISA system as Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, visits UK for talks with UK’s Prime Minister and a separate talk with the Queen. Both the Chinese and the British government are looking forward to the outcome of the revamped VISA process, hoping that it would benefit both of their nations- promote good will, boosts economic growth and strengthen the bond between their countries.