A VIP mobile visa service has been introduced to speed up travel arrangement for Chinese business people coming to the UK, immigration minister Mark Harper announced this morning.
Speaking to the UK China Visa Alliance in London, Harper said that the new initiative was one of several recent improvements that have been made to ensure the visa process for Chinese visitors becomes quicker and easier, including the five-day priority visa service and the system which allows customers to keep their passports whilst their visa is being processed.
The mobile service enables VIPs to apply for visas and provide their biometric information to an officer who comes to their place of work. Further improvements will see online application forms and guidance being translated into Chinese.
"The figures show that the UK gets its fair share of visitors, however we are ambitious to continue to improve our world class visa service and attract even more visitors to Britain," said Harper.
According to the Home Office, the number of Chinese visitors to the UK are at a record high with 96% of applicants in China getting a UK visa, the vast majority of which are processed within 15 days.
However, online booking operator Hotels.com said that while it welcomed that more steps are being taken to make the UK more inviting to visitors from China, it is concerned that unless more is done, the UK will lose out to other countries.
Alison Couper of Hotels.com, commented: "Our own data shows that Paris overtook London as the most searched for European city by Chinese visitors for the first time last year, despite the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee.