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2 year visas for UK nationals in China and Chinese in UK – at last!

Whilst the UK has lagged somewhat behind the 10 year Visas allowewd by the US it has at last been implemented that Chinese nationals can now obtain a 2 year visa for the UK which allows for multiple visits.

This was announced when the Chinese premier visited London in October but has only just taken effect. It reflects a reality that Chinese business people and tourists, who are sometimes both, are coming to the UK in ever increasing numbers. In 2009 the number was 115,000 but but in 2014 it was 336,000. The figure for full year 2015 IS expected to be well over 400,000 when it gets added up. The average spend per visit was £2,688 which compares very favourably with what middle eastern visitors spend – always the benchmark.

Speaking as a Brit who splits his time between the UK and China I can see the sense in this visa change and the increasingly easier changes planned. UK PLC wants to make it as easy as possible for the Chinese to come to the UK. 20 years ago, when visiting London from my then office in Leeds, I used to observe the thousands of Japanese tourists who were omnipresent in each tourist location snapping away on their cameras. This reflected major investment from Japanese banks and technology companies into London and the rest of the UK.

I think we will now see the Chinese doing the same. It is likely to be with the latest iPhone though rather than a camera. Every Chinese consumers seems to have at least 2!