In early October 2014, the UK and Ireland officially agreed to a new British-Irish Visa Scheme, which will allow Chinese and Indian visitors to travel to the UK and Ireland on a single visit visa.

The scheme will start in China by the end of October and in India soon afterwards. It is hoped that more than 10,000 visitors will benefit from the scheme.

Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice and Equality, said: "The British-Irish Visa Scheme, which we expect will provide a major boost to tourism for both countries, […] will benefit the Northern Irish economy in particular, by allowing Chinese and Indian visitors to the Republic of Ireland the opportunity to visit Northern Ireland without having to obtain a separate UK visa."

This recent development shows that UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) is on track to making the UK visa application system more accommodating for visitors. However, this is just one step between two countries, and the UK should consider further streamlining its visa application processes, including further aligning with the Schengen visa application process.