UK will relax visa requirements for Chinese citizens


George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a senior minister has said that measures will be taken in order to simplify visa application procedure for Chinese visitors who want to go to the UK for touristic or business purposes. The main change will include the fact that Chinese citizens, who have obtained a Schengen visa that gives them the right to travel through EU countries will not need to apply for a separate UK visa.

The right to travel to the UK with a Schengen visa will initially only apply to Chinese tourists through the Treasury says that it intends that the scheme should be expanded to include businesspeople as well. In addition to that, there will be a super-priority-visa-service procedure introduced so that busy Chinese executives are able to obtain a UK visa as fast as possible without losing too much of their business time. The service will allow visa applicants to have their documents processed within 24 hours.

The new changes will come as a result of the fact that many British corporate executives are calling for reduced visa requirements for Chinese nationals.  earlier this month, the chief executive of British Airways, Willie Walsh, warned that the UK’s visa system was deterring Chinese visitors and businesspeople from visiting the UK and was, therefore, damaging Britain’s economy. Mr Walsh says that only 150 000 Chinese people have travelled to the UK during the last year in comparison with 1,1 million who have visited Schengen area countries. The current Home Secretary Theresa May however was initially opposed to the proposals for relaxation of the visa regime with China. Nevertheless, she issued a statement in which she promised that the UK will continue to make improvement wherever is possible.

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