This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Office of National Statistics have revealed a 39% rise in the number of visit visas issued to Chinese nationals in 2013.
Numbers have been rising steadily since June 2009, and 2013 saw 291,919 visas issued to Chinese visitors: more than ever before.
The UK saw a larger rise in visit visas from China than from anywhere else in the world during 2013. And despite the significant increase in demand, the UK processed visas in an average of 7.2 days. Of those who applied across all visa categories, on average, 96% were successful.
The increase demonstrates that the new UK Visas & Immigration Service’s commitment to customer service is having an effect. During 2013 there was an increased focus on rolling out premium services such as three to five day visa and passport pass back service. And the UK has been working hard to combat the myth that UK visas are hard to obtain, particularly in China.
The numbers also show that the UK is continuing to attract top students from China, with a 9% rise in student visas granted to Chinese nationals, and a 14% rise in student visit visas.
British Ambassador to China, Sebastian Wood described the statistics as both striking and encouraging, adding that the visa system is supporting the growth of the UK’s economic, educational and tourism relationship with China. Watch his full video message here.
UK Visas & Immigration processed a total of 373,684 entry clearance visas (all categories, including settlement, points-based system, visitors and transit) from China during 2013 – a 31% rise on 2012.
Visit visas (tourists, student, business, family visitors and etc. travelling to the UK on a short term basis) accounted for 291,919 of the total figure.
Student visas (long term) rose 9% against 2012, while student visitors (short term) increased by 14%
A full breakdown of the figures, published 27 February 2014 can be found here