In light of the recent criticism that the UKBA has faced with the discovery by Chief Inspector of Boarders and Immigration, John Vine, of a backlog of over 16,000 unresolved cases, the UKBA has stayed resolute and recently revealed the success they have had in providing visa services to Chinese nationals.
This follows on from our earlier article on the UK wooing Chinese visitors as they generally spend more money whilst visiting the UK than the average EEA/EU visitor.
A recent look into growth statistics had shown a 28% growth in visit visas being successfully issued. In that increase over 283,000 were visas from Chinese nationals. The UKBA have gone further in highlighting their success with Chinese nationals by stating that at the moment they are processing their visa applications with a 96% satisfaction rate and most importantly 94% success rate. They also released figures stating that 97% of non-settlement Chinese national visas are processed within 15 days with 54% being processed within 5 days. From a business perspective however, the UKBA have improved upon their previously mentioned success by ensuring that 99% of business visit visas are decided within 15 day, 75% of which are decided within 5 days.
However, the UKBA have elected to improve upon their success and have recently shortened application forms for tourists, simplified document requirements and have begun to accept photocopies. They have also provided a short summary of current and future improvements that the UKBA wish to implement in helping the visa application process of Chinese nationals:
- Application form is now only 6 pages
- Average UK visa cost is £81, with:
- Multiple visa entry vaild from 6 months – 3 years; and
- Schengen single entry visa valid for 3 months
- UK citizen visa to visit China is £126
- The UKBA website now provides Chinese language versions of all information and guidance notes, as well as offering a Chinese language telephone and email service
- They have twice as many visa application centres in China than Schengen countries
- They have employed a dedicated business staff to provide support for business visa applications
- They will offer a biometric ‘home service’ later in the year whereby UKBA staff will travel to them to take fingerprints, rather than the chosen employee travelling to the UK
The UKBA has indeed shown an impressive track record of success in dealing with Chinese nationals, and with the Chinese economy ever growing; the UK government has every incentive to ensure a high level of service to the Chinese. Should the current victories enjoyed by the UKBA further increase; the UK may enjoy a sudden increase in Chinese visitors!