Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Economy: UK visa controls ‘hampering Goverment efforts to boost trade’, MPs claim

06:00 17 January 2014

Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

The Government’s efforts to boost trade are being hampered by Britain’s strict visa controls which are deterring some overseas businesses from dealing with the UK, MPs have warned.


The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the UK was currently set to miss Chancellor George Osborne’s target, announced in the 2012 Budget, to double the value of its exports to £1trillion by 2020.

Despite the Foreign Office (FCO) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) spending £420million last year to promote British exports, the committee said that for the past two years growth had remained flat.

While the committee said the two organisations needed to work more effectively together, it also highlighted “tensions” with the Home Office over its time-consuming visa regime.

“The Home Office’s measures to secure the UK’s borders, for example, through setting visa entry requirements, can discourage business travellers from other countries from visiting the UK. This potentially affects export opportunities,” it said.

“The FCO and UKTI told us that they are aware of a high level of concern in some countries about the time-consuming process of getting a UK visa.”

The FCO has been pressing for the three to five-day priority visa service - currently available in 67 countries - to be extended to a total of 90 countries. A same-day service, already available in India, is being expanded to cover China and six other countries.

“Despite such efforts, there remains considerable evidence of problems for business travellers and other individuals obtaining UK visas, which is damaging to the development of the face-to-face relationships needed for successful business in other countries,” the committee said.

The committee chair, Margaret Hodge said: “UKTI and the FCO should look into the difficulties experienced by business travellers in obtaining UK visas and work with the Home Office to minimise them.”

A Government spokesman acknowledged the target to double exports was “ambitious” but said that they were working hard to achieve it.

“We are shifting our focus towards targeting high-value opportunities, providing more support and advice for UK small and medium sized businesses, establishing a global business network and opening British business centres in key markets across the world including India, China and UAE,” the spokesman said.


1 comment

  • Thats got to be the reason hasn't it? Because one of the worlds great exporters, China, has such a flexible approach to visas???

    Report this comment


    Friday, January 17, 2014

Josh Eames and Ryan Scillitoe of Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries in Tiptree who have have raised more than £5,000 for charity through a 1,000-mile cyclinge challenge.

Josh Eames and Ryan Scillitoe from Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries in Tiptree have raised more than £5,000 for charity through a 1,000 mile cycle challenge.

The Leading Lives team receive their tropy at the Social Enterprise UK Awards in London.

Ipswich-based Leading Lives has been named Health and Social Care Social Enterprise of the Year at the Social Enterprise UK Awards.

The Hot Off The Press premises inTacket Stret, Ipswich, which the company has vacated after 25 years.

A printing company which has operated from the centre of Ipswich for 25 years has relocated – to a purpose-built log cabin in the owner’s garden.

Elaine and Nigel Bowen of Vanguard Communications.

Two businesses which receive support from Suffolk enterprise agency Menta have received Small Business Sunday awards from entrepreneur and former BBC Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis.

Wayne Seddon from The Bridge House in London receives his Adnams Pub of the Year award from chief operating officer Karen Hester.

Southwold-based Adnams has named The Bridge House, near London’s Tower Bridge, as its Pub of the Year.

Georgi Rollings, left, and Emma Lawrence of Starfish Accounting.

An Ipswich based provider of online company secretarial software has reached the landmark milestone of having 10,000 users.

Robert Hughes, managing director of Hughes Electrical, and Andy Yallop, store manager, at the company's new branch in Bury St Edmunds.

Hughes Electrical has opened the doors of its new store in Bury St Edmunds following a £200,000 investment which has also created six new jobs, doubling the size of its workforce in the town.

A file picture of the Sanofi factory in Haverhill.

More than 50 jobs are to be axed at the Haverhill site of pharmaceutical group Sanofi.

Barclays has been fined £72m by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Banking giant Barclays has been fined £72million by the City watchdog for failing to handle potential financial crime risks relating to a £1.88billion transaction for ultra high-net-worth clients.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere at the former sugar beet factory site off Sproughton Road.

A new Enterprize Zone involving 10 development sites across East Anglia, with the potential to create 18,500 jobs, was announced by Chancellor George Osborne today.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24