China’s share trading may have halted, but amidst the gloomy economic press is the launch of a new visa for Chinese nationals visiting the UK, hoped to ‘herald a new era of interchange and exchange’.
From Monday 11th January, Chinese visitors to the UK are able to apply for a 2-year multiple entry visa which costs £85 to enable them to:
- make multiple trips the UK;
- visit the UK for the purpose of tourism, business, attending conferences or investigating setting up a business.
UK nationals are able to visit China through the same arrangement and for the same cost. Previously Chinese visitors were limited to a standard six month visit visa.
This change was a product of China’s state visit from President Xi in October last year and amounts to a significant improvement on the standard Schengen visitor visa, which allows a maximum of 90 days.
David Cameron anticipates that the new visa ‘will build on our already strong people to people links, strengthening UK-China relations further’. But aside from political ties are clear economic expectations. The number of Chinese visitors to the UK almost trebled in the five years between 2009 and 2014 to 336,000, increasing again by 20% in 2015. With each person on average spending £2688 on each visit and an overall contribution of £500 million to the British economy, it is this potential growth in spending from which James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister hopes the British economy will benefit.
The visa represents just one of a number of recent improvements the government has made to the efficiency of the Chinese visitor visa application process, and it is only the beginning of the road. Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has expressed further aspirations to extend the UK’s mobile fingerprinting service from nine to 50 Chinese cities to ease the visa application process, and to see the introduction of a 10-year entry visa in due course.
If you have any questions or would like further information on the issues discussed in this article, then please contact Chetal Patel, an Associate in the Immigration department.
Posted on 14/01/2016 in Legal UpdatesBack to Knowledge