This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Launch of a new UK visa application service based in Bishkek.
On 17 July over 40 journalists, government and parliament representatives, travel and education agents and diplomats attended the launch of a new Bishkek-based UK visa application service at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Her Majesty’s Ambassador Judith Farnworth and Deputy Foreign Minister Otorbaev made opening remarks before Chris Waite, UK Visas and Immigration Regional Operations Manager and Arnaud Gricourt, Regional Executive for Teleperformance briefed the audience on the new system.
At the launch HM Ambassador gave the following speech:
I’m delighted to welcome you all here today to mark this important event – the opening of a Temporary Enrolment Location - or mobile biometric clinic - in Bishkek in this very hotel. This service will make it possible for Kyrgyz citizens and residents to submit biometric data and apply for UK visas here in the Kyrgyz Republic.
In my many discussions with Kyrgyz Ministers, business people, the academic community and even President Atambaev, requests for an in-country visa service have been a recurrent theme. I am delighted that UK Visas and Immigration, the part of the British Home Office responsible for visa services, in cooperation with their commercial partner, Teleperformance, have responded so positively to these requests. And I’m very grateful to Chris Waite, Istanbul-based UKVI Regional Operations Manager, and Arnaud Gricourt, Teleperformance’s Regional Executive for Russia and the CIS, for joining us in Bishkek today to mark the occasion. They will be speaking to you in more detail on how the system will work a little later on.
It matters to the UK that we develop closer relations with the Kyrgyz Republic. That’s why we opened an Embassy here in 2012. But as well as strengthening diplomatic relations between governments and officials, it is important that we facilitate access to each other’s country for business people, tourists and students.
The Embassy has developed a new strand of commercial work over the last year, focusing on supporting Kyrgyz government efforts to improve the business climate and providing support to a growing number of British businesses showing an interest in entering the Kyrgyz market. I was delighted to learn recently that the UK is the third biggest investor in Kyrgyzstan and I sincerely hope that making it easier for Kyrgyz business people to apply to travel to the UK will facilitate further trade and investment links to our mutual benefit.
In my many meetings with students at Kyrgyz universities, I’ve been struck by the strong interest in study in the UK. So I’m delighted to inform you that we are increasing the number of scholarships available under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Chevening scheme for Masters study in the UK. We are launching the next competition in 1 August and will advertise it on the Embassy website and social media. We are also supporting the British Council, based in Almaty, in planning for the first time in Bishkek an Education Fair for those considering studying in the UK. The event, planned for late October, could bring representatives of as many as 40 leading UK higher educational institutions to Kyrgyzstan.
And finally, tourism. According to the Global Destinations Cities Index, London has been the most visited city in the world in three of the last four years. I am keen that amongst those visitors are an ever increasing numbers of Kyrgyz tourists – not just to London but to other parts of my diverse country. The Visit Britain website is a great source of information on the wide range of things to do and see – history, heritage, culture, arts, sport, shopping and a vast range of cuisines – right across the country. I encourage you to take a look.
In closing, I’d like to thank Deputy Minister Erines Otorbaev for joining us today to celebrate this important development in promoting people-to-people contacts. I appreciate the support we have had from MFA, Ministry of Justice and Presidential Administration in setting up this operation, reflecting our shared interest in bringing our two countries closer together.
Thank you for your attention.