UK eases visa application to lure Chinese tourists

Updated: 2014-10-22 16:07

By LI XIANG in Beijing(

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The United Kingdom (UK) has further simplified the process for Chinese companies applying for a business visa, in an attempt to attract more investment from the country.

A new visa application scheme, known as Select Business Scheme UK, was launched by UK Visas and Immigration on Tuesday, under which applications of Chinese businesses will only need to provide an application form, an invitation letter and an employment letter to support their visa application.

The service will be available to members of the China Britain Business Council and the British Chamber of Commerce in China. It will also be offered to members of the Confederation of British Industry and companies referred by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), according to the British embassy in China.

The upgraded business visa service will mean less paperwork and faster processing for representatives of Chinese companies with plans to travel to the UK, said Lee Edwards, head of business and growth network China at UK Visas and Immigration.

The number of UK visa applications in China was up 31 percent from 2013, according to the British embassy.

UK has been keen to welcome investment from China in a wide range of sectors including civil nuclear, infrastructure and utilities, retail and high-speed railway.

"In those sensitive areas where others see risks, we see opportunities. It is because Chinese investment will help grow our economy and create jobs," British Ambassador to China Sebastian Wood said in his speech at the China Outbound Conference 2014 in Beijing on Wednesday.

The country has already become the top recipient of Chinese investment in the European Union with total investment reaching $40 billion, according to the Chinese embassy in London.

Private investors will play an increasingly important role in China's investment in the UK as the value of their investment already accounted for nearly half of the country's outbound investment, said Zhang Jianping, director of the International Economic Cooperation Institute for International Economic Research affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission.