Increase recorded in UK visas issued to Chinese

02 Mar 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The latest quarterly immigration statistics have shown an increase in the number of UK visas issued to people from china.

According to the official data, in the year to December 2012 the number of UK visas issued to Chinese nationals increased by seven per cent in comparison to the previous 12 month period. This included an increase of six per cent in the number of visit visas and a nine per cent increase in the number of study visas.

Mark Harper, immigration minister, suggested that the ongoing growth shows that "policies are working". He added: "Our Chinese visa system provides an excellent service in terms of processing time, convenience and value for money. There has been strong and sustained growth in visitor numbers from China last year, with visit visas issued to 95 per cent of applicants who applied."

He added that the system is designed to be as straightforward as possible, with information available online.

Earlier this month, business secretary Vince Cable said that easy border controls designed to encourage investment and tourism from China is essential to the prosperity of the UK economy.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Cable said: "China is the new economic superpower and we must treat its re-emergence with respect: as an opportunity rather than a threat … Our future prosperity will depend on it.

"If we are serious about trading more with countries such as China, then we must make sure our borders are as open as possible to genuine tourism, business visitors, investment and trade."

The data comes after Office for National Statistics data found that overall net migration in the UK fell by a third in the year to June 2012 in comparison to the previous year. The government welcomed the news, citing it as an important step on its pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament in 2015.

Last year, net migration stood at 163,000, down from the 247,000 recorded in the year before.