BVEP welcomes changes to visa system for Chinese visitors

The Business Visits & Events Partnership has welcomed government plans to simplify the visa application process for visitors to the UK from China.

The UK government is looking at expanding a VIP mobile visa service in Shanghai
The UK government is looking at expanding a VIP mobile visa service in Shanghai

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced the introduction of a new pilot scheme allowing selected Chinese travel agents to apply for UK visas by submitting the EU’s Schengen visa form, rather than the two separate applications currently required.

A new 24-hour "super priority" visa service will be available from summer next year, while the government is also looking at expanding a VIP mobile visa service, currently operating in Beijing and Shanghai, to the whole country. This service enables visa teams to go to applicants to collect their completed forms and biometric data, with the process taking less than five minutes.

Michael Hirst, chair of sector umbrella body the BVEP, welcomed the move to dual processing. He said: "It should certainly make visiting the UK much easier for Chinese visitors because the barrier of having to make a second application in addition to the European application goes away."

He said the announcement was good news on top of recent changes regarding immigration procedures for business travellers. The BVEP is still calling for special events visas for events attracting more than 2,000 overseas delegates.

Hirst said: "I think the government now fully appreciates it has to stimulate trade, and to stimulate trade we need international business visitors and leisure travellers to be able to easily access the UK, and I think the message is being heard and action is coming."

Last month, British Airways boss Willie Walsh warned that the ‘bureaucracy’ of the visa system was deterring Chinese visitors.

Osborne said his announcement was "good news for China and Britain". He added: "We are simplifying what people need to do to get a visa, while still maintaining the security of our borders. Visitors from China can continue to have confidence that the UK remains open for business and leisure."

The government issued 210,000 visas to visiting Chinese nationals, who contributed around £300m to the British economy, in 2012.

Tell us what you think. Email us at cit@haymarket.com or tweet us @CITmagazine.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
How events can save the world

Crisis planning, sustainability, wellbeing and inclusion can cause difficulties for event organisers. So is it possible to host a truly ethical event?

Wellbeing makes 'good business sense'

Wellbeing makes 'good business sense'

Annie Metcalfe from Clear Partners says planners must adapt to the changing demands of incentive travel programmes.

Amex GBT appoints new general manager for meetings and events

Amex GBT appoints new general manager for meetings and events

Gerardo Tejado has held a number of commercial and client management roles at American Express GBT over the past 17 years.

Incentives are coming: 7 Game of Thrones-inspired destinations

Incentives are coming: 7 Game of Thrones-inspired destinations

From Croatia to Northern Ireland, the fictional land of Westeros has filming locations around the world ideal for meetings and events.

What does an HR expert look for in Best Places to Work accreditation?

What does an HR expert look for in Best Places to Work accreditation?

An independent HR consultant explains what judges are looking for in accreditation like C&IT's Best Places to Work.

Events budgets return to steady growth, Bellwether Report finds

Events budgets return to steady growth, Bellwether Report finds

UK companies increased their marketing spend in Q1 2019, in contrast to flatlining budgets at the end of last year.

'Unlocking the best parts of destinations' is key for event planners

'Unlocking the best parts of destinations' is key for event planners

Venues should use their expertise to help familiarise planners with a new destination, says panel at the C&IT Association Forum.

Case study: CoinGeekWeek conference

Case study: CoinGeekWeek conference

CoinGeek transformed The Mermaid London for its three-day conference on cryptocurrency and blockchain.

New senior account manager for Top Banana

New senior account manager for Top Banana

Natalie Benson joins from ACA Live and will work on finance, automotive and retail accounts.

Facial recognition will change the way we measure audience engagement

Facial recognition will change the way we measure audience engagement

This kind of technology could scientifically prove the value and impact of events, says Dan Broadberry from Brands at Work.

LATEST JOBS