UK To Relax Visa Rules For Chinese Visitors In Bid To Attract Billions Of Pounds Of Investment

UK to relax visa rules for Chinese visitorsVisa applications by wealthy Chinese businessmen and tourists are to be fast-tracked as part of a charm offensive designed to attract billions of pounds of investment.

The move was announced by Chancellor George Osborne, who is on a week-long tour of China aimed at drumming up trade. This week’s visit comes amid signs of a thaw in relations with Beijing, which have been in deep freeze since David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in London last year. Mr Osborne is in China at the same time as London Mayor Boris Johnson, who arrived in Beijing for a six-day trade visit yesterday.The visa decision comes despite reservations from Home Secretary Theresa May, who warned last year that relaxing rules could pose a threat to national security.

The changes will reduce the need for Chinese visitors to the European Union to submit separate visa applications for Britain. Selected Chinese travel agents will be able to apply for UK visas by submitting just the visa form for entry to the EU’s Schengen area, of which Britain is not part. A new 24-hour ‘super priority’ visa service will become available from next summer next year, while officials are also looking at expanding a VIP mobile visa service, currently operating in Beijing and Shanghai, to the whole country. The service involves visa teams going out to applicants to collect their completed forms and biometric data, with the whole process taking less than five minutes._Dailymail