The UK’s new and improved visa application centre in Beijing has officially opened its doors today after undergoing its biggest ever makeover. All twelve of the UK’s visa centres in China have been refurbished, expanded and upgraded in preparation for another record year of visa applications expected in 2014 and beyond.
The centre in Beijing has doubled in size and increased in capacity. The changes will reduce waiting times for customers as well as making the start of the journey to the UK more comfortable.
Last year the UK saw a record number of visa applications from Chinese nationals, up 31% on the previous year. Growth in demand for a visit visa was even higher – 39%.
The upgrade also marks the beginning of a renewed contract between the UK government and VFS Global , the centre is jointly operated by VFS Global and their Chinese Partner Beijing Shuangxiong Foreign Service Company.
The centre was officially opened by Ed Vaizey, UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, British Ambassador to China, Sebastian Wood, Guo Shaochun, Deputy Director-General of the Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Creativity is GREAT Ambassador, Chen Luyu.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:
The UK is open for business and these new contracts will allow us to maintain a world class, competitive visa system to support Britain in the global race.
The UK is listening to the needs of valued customers in China. These changes will improve our service by increasing the capacity of our centres, and improving access to our premium and priority services
Last year, the UK processed more than 380,000 applications from Chinese nationals, and 96% of applications were successful. In addition to Beijing, the UK has application centres in Chengdu, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen and Wuhan.