Immigration lawyer welcomes Chinese tourist visa changes

Jamie Kerr

Significant changes to the way UK tourist visas are issued to people from China will provide a huge boost to Britain’s economy, according to one immigration lawyer.

Jamie Kerr, specialist immigration law partner at Thorntons has welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent announcement that the UK visitor visa rules for Chinese tourists will be relaxed from the start of next year.

Mr Kerr believes that the changes are necessary to tap into the burgeoning Chinese tourist market, which is worth potentially millions of pounds to the British economy every year.

At present, Chinese nationals must apply for a visa before they can enter the UK as a visitor, which only remains valid for six months.

Under the new changes, which come into effect in January, these visas will now remain valid for two years, allowing multiple visits to the UK


The announcement came amid the four day state visit to the UK of Chinese President Xi Jingping.

The Prime Minister said that the changes to the visa rules reflected the fact that China is now one of the UK’s fastest growing tourist markets.

Mr Kerr said: “Although President Xi’s visit has not been without controversy, the hope is that it will encourage closer social, economic and political ties between both countries, ushering in a new ‘golden era’ for both countries.

“In the midst of Royal receptions and signing multi-billion pound trade deals, the Prime Minister also found time to announce very significant changes to the UK visitor visa rules for Chinese tourists in a bid to attract more Chinese tourists to the UK.

“At the moment, more Chinese tourists visit France and Italy than they do the UK and these changes seek to address that.

“Given each Chinese tourist spends an average of £2,688 per visit, and one new job is created in the UK tourism sector for every additional 22 Chinese visitors, these changes will help grow the UK economy and encourage more tourism and trade between China and the UK.”

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