More Indian business people are taking advantage of a Super Priority Visa (SPV) to visit the UK, which is issued on the day of application but costs an additional £600 on top of the usual UK visa fee.
Since the SPV was launched in India two years ago, more than 1,300 have been issued and the number has jumped by 68 per cent in the first six months of this year compared to the first half of 2014.
Since being introduced in India, the SPV has been rolled out to China, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
UK Visas and Immigration Indian regional director Nick Crouch told the Times of India: “We are always looking at ways to improve the visa service and regularly take on feedback from the business and tourism sectors. This year we opened the new standalone Premium Lounge in Gurgaon in response to feedback from business stakeholders and we will continue to look for new locations to open visa application centres.
“We are currently trialling new chargeable services which include walk-in appointments, appointments for large groups and assistance for customers for filling in their application forms online.”
He said that around nine out of 10 Indians who apply for a UK visa are successful. Indian nationals can apply for short-term visas to stay for up to six months in the UK, as well as five and 10-year visas.
Around 400,000 Indians apply for UK visas every year. According to Home Office figures, more than 97 per cent of business visa applications from India are approved, although the figure drops to 86 per cent approval for visit visa approvals.
Indian businesses have successfully secured around 70,000 business visas each year for the last five years.