Interesting No 10 press release announcing new rules for Chinese visitors to the UK from some time in 2016. We can expect a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules closer to that time. The key change seems to be a new standard minimum 2 year multiple entry visit visa exclusively for Chinese nationals:
The standard 6 month UK visitor visa currently costs £85. The new 2 year visitor visa and the 10 year visitor visa, when it is introduced, will cost the same as the standard visitor visa no matter how visits are made. Today’s announcement is part of a wider migration dialogue between the UK and China, which will include how we can strengthen co-operation to tackle illegal migration.
The overall approach of the press release is interesting too; several significant improvements to customer service and convenience are announced and these are framed as being competitive with EU Schengen visas and US visas. There is clearly a pool of potential Chinese international visitors abroad and the UK is attempting to attract a greater share of them.
The Home Office and Home Secretary Theresa May, responsible for immigration to the UK, do not receive any mention in the press release, unlike the Chancellor.
It would be nice to see a similar approach applied to foreign university students. There is a relatively small pool of international degree level students and there is intense competition between certain countries to attract them.