The UK Home Office just announced changes to simplify the application process for Chinese nationals applying for UK business visas. This change follows intense pressure from the UK business community who want to encourage Chinese investment in the United Kingdom.
Chinese nationals may now apply for a UK business visa by completing an application form, providing an invitation letter from a UK entity, and a company letter confirming employment in China. It should be noted that only members of the China-Britain Business Council and the British Chamber of Commerce in China, as well as members of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and companies referred by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) are eligible to benefit from the new rules.
The UK is working hard to attract Chinese investors to the UK. In September, UK authorities relaxed its rules making travel to the United Kingdom easier for Chinese nationals who hold European Schengen visas when changing planes at UK airports. Prior to this change, Chinese nationals had to secure an expensive transit visa even though most of them never left the airport departure lounge. In June, a pilot program was set up allowing Chinese tour operators to use the Schengen application form when applying for UK tourist visas. UK authorities also allowed Chinese nationals to submit their applications for a UK visitor visa concurrently with their Schengen visa applications.