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UK to launch fast-track visa service for business leaders

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 18:34

London: Britain will introduce a new visa system for global business leaders amid concerns that moves to tighten immigration rules are deterring high-value individuals from overseas.

Around 100 wealthy foreigners will initially be invited to join a new bespoke visa service which the Home Office said will ensure their passage through the UK border system is swift and smooth.

According to a report in the Telegraph, members of the GREAT Club will get a personal account manager at the UK Visas and Immigration service to deal with their travel plans.

The manager will arrange visa services tailored to each individual s needs at no extra cost, the Home Office said.

The move comes ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron`s third visit in two years to India on November 14.

Officials declined to say who would qualify for the club, saying only that individuals in a position to make a significant contribution to the economy would be eligible.

Home Secretary Theresa May will also announce plans to extend existing priority visa services to business people in more countries.

The Home Office said that the new premium visa service was being introduced as part of the government`s economic growth plan to attract the "brightest and best to work, do business and invest in the UK".

At present those who apply for a tier one visa which includes entrepreneurs or for an extension from within Britain can access a premium service if they apply in person for 1,920 pounds.

A Home Office spokesman said that business leaders will initially be offered "free membership" of the club which promises an "exceptional" service for those who apply from outside Europe.

This could include same-day processing and a mobile to your office service at standard visa fees.

According to the Guardian, a new mobile VIP visa service is also to be introduced in India.

The introduction of the fast-track business visa service follows repeated complaints about delays in processing visa applications, particularly in India and China.

The invitation-only fast-track visa service into Britain is to be launched by May in the new year.

First Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 18:34
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