Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Theresa May blocks Chinese visa changes over security fears

An article from the UK Guardian on Thursday, 16th August, discussed how Home Secretary for the UK Theresa May blocked an attempt to make it easier for Chinese visitors to obtain visas to visit the UK. She argues that it would “pose a national security risk,” and she blamed poor visitor numbers on “tourism chiefs not promoting Britain’s natural beauty properly.”

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed an £8m plan following the Olympics to triple the number of Chinese visitors to Britain by 2015, but May has stated her opposition to this plan. Currently, Chinese visitors are able to obtain an EU visa that allows them to visit 25 EU countries, but they need a separate visa to enter the UK. Hunt’s plan would make obtaining a UK visitor’s visa much easier for the Chinese visitors, but May has argued that “visa checks in Europe ‘do not match the UK decision quality’” and claimed that “British visa controls are a ‘key tool in protecting the public against significant harm.’” She cites national security as one of her main motivations for rejecting the plan, fearing that allowing more Chinese nationals to visit the UK would lead to more crime and a reduced sense of national security.

The article concludes by admitting, “The government is particularly keen to attract Chinese tourists because they are estimated to spend an average of three times more than other overseas visitors, but France receives 25-50% more Chinese tourists than the UK.

Brophy Solicitors

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