Difficult UK visa conditions 'hampering interest in UK'

23 Jun 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Difficulties in acquiring UK visas are posing a problem to people from China who are otherwise interested in the country.

Rupert Hoogewerf, publisher of the Hurun Report magazine and a leading expert on China's new rich, told the Daily Telegraph that China's rich are particularly interested in the UK for their children's education.

Indeed, around a third of the UK's non-British students came from Hong Kong or China last year, figures from the Independent School Council (ISC) demonstrated.

The latest data from ISC revealed a significant increase in the number of overseas pupils studying at private schools in the UK.

Chief executive of the organisation, David Lyscom, described the rise as "especially pleasing".

He added: "This underlines the importance of the UK having a proportionate visa regime which is capable of distinguishing between independent schools and their pupils and other student migrants."

However, Mr Hoogewerf told the paper: "Visas are definitely still a problem, because the UK is not part of the Schengen Agreement, so getting a visa is more difficult.

"That does have a significant impact on the numbers of millionaires [from China] going to Britain for shopping or mini-breaks."

He added that the London Olympics will also increase the incentive for rich Chinese people to invest in the UK, in part due to the global success of Beijing’s 2008 games.