GOVERNMENT has unveiled a new visa scheme for Chinese business people, following claims that wealthy tourists are avoiding the UK due to an excessively tough immigration system.
The Home Office will enter into talks with tour operators to make it easier for well-heeled visitors from the world’s second biggest economy to come to Britain and – most importantly for the government – spend in UK shops.
Under the plan Chinese visitors will be able to pay extra to have UK officials collect data at their home or office rather than travelling to a visa application centre.
However, the proposals fall well short of calls from retailers for Britain to join the Schengen free movement area, which covers 26 European countries. At the moment Chinese tourists can fill out one form for a visa covering the whole Schengen zone but have to pay extra and fill out additional forms if they want to visit the UK.