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Chinese visa applications to be simplified

The fashion industry is set to benefit from an influx of high spending Chinese shoppers after plans were announced this weekend that Chinese visa applications are to be relaxed.

Chancellor George Osborne announced a pilot scheme in which visa applications for Chinese visitors entering the UK will be simplified during a trade mission in Beijing.

Under the new plans, Chinese visitors visiting the EU will not have to submit separate visa applications for the UK when booking with selected travel agents. Currently, Chinese tourists have to apply for a separate visa when travelling to the UK.

Last year 210,000 visas were issued to Chinese nationals, which contributed around £300m to the UK economy.

The UK China Visa Alliance (UKCVA), which has campaigned for simplification of Chinese Visa requirements, has previously estimated it could provide a £1.2bn annual boost to the UK economy.

As part of the changes a 24-hour “super priority” visa service will be available from next summer. Additionally a mobile visa scheme, which already operates in Beijing and Shanghai, will be extended.

Osborne said: “Let me make this clear to you and to the whole of China, there is no limit to the number of Chinese who could study in Britain.

“There is no limit to the number of Chinese tourists who can visit. No limit on the amount of business we can do together.”

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