martedì 18 giugno 2013
I turisti cinesi scoprono che la Gran Bretagna è poco accogliente
'You’re invited.’ “'You’re invited’?” he said. “Wrong. It seems to be the opposite.”
Un articolo del Telegraph sulle cose che non vanno in Gran Bretagna verso i turisti cinesi.
"Tony Weng shook with anger as he emerged empty-handed from Shanghai’s UK visa application centre. “Lousy,” he said. “That is probably a little bit of a rude word. But it’s how I feel.”
Minutes earlier the Shanghai-based employee of Baosteel, China’s largest steel maker, claimed he had been told he and his family could not be issued with tourist visas for a planned trip to the UK in June.
“We prepared all the documents and they said, 'Oh, more than 3 months - that cannot be accepted’,” the 55-year-old, who said he had wanted an early visa to obtain a cheaper flight, complained.
Mr Weng pointed to a poster hanging outside the visa centre featuring an image of British actress Dame Judi Dench beside a Union Jack and the slogan: 'You’re invited.’ “'You’re invited’?” he said. “Wrong. It seems to be the opposite.”
“Look at the entire Euro zone,” the businessman added. “It has already opened the doors to most Chinese people, even tourists. You have got the Schengen visa and you can go wherever you want. It’s very flexible these days. But if you want to go to the UK you have to go through this very old-fashioned application procedure.”
Zhou Dewen, the chairman of the Small and Medium Business Association in the eastern city of Wenzhou, said: “It is quite difficult to get a UK business visa. Previously, both the UK and US were difficult, the most difficult in the world. In recent years, the US has loosened up but the UK hasn’t. The UK still has strict visa requirements for Chinese applicants. They should change their views on China and Chinese business people,” he added.
A spokesman for the Home Office said it was not possible to apply for a UK visa more than 3-months ahead of a trip but said the same was true for Schengen visas. “The UK does request that you don’t apply for a visa more than three months before you’re going to travel. However, this is the same for Schengen countries like Spain and France. Unlike Schengen countries the UK visa is valid for multiple visits to the UK within a six month period,” he added.
At the Shanghai visa office, Mr Weng, the Baosteel employee, said he believed the rules should be changed. “Make our lives easier. We want to spend money there.”
Their frustrations were shared by others at the Shanghai centre, one of 12 across China run by the company VFS Global. For a short-term visit visa to the UK, Chinese applicants must pay a minimum of 820 yuan (around £82) in cash. That is an average of around £20 more than for the Schengen countries. At the Shanghai centre, applicants without appointments are only met between 8am and 9am each day.
“It is quite a hassle to get a UK visa,” said 62-year-old Anna Tang who was with her husband applying for a visa to visit their London-based daughter. “[There are] too many documents to prepare each time.”
Mrs Tang said it was absurd to treat visitors such as herself as potential illegal immigrants. “They really don’t need to worry about us being an immigration risk. We have a perfectly good life here, we have a house, everything. We know nothing about the English language. We would be deaf and dumb in the UK. We just want to visit our daughter [and] see our grandson. There is really no need to put restrictions on us. They should be more flexible about it.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK welcomes Chinese tourists. In the last year we granted more than 200,000 visas to Chinese people - 95pc of those that applied. We have made big improvements to the system, making it even simpler for genuine tourists to come to the UK.
“The fact is that the UK asks for less documentation and has twice as many application centres as Schengen countries. Our forms can already be filled out online and take on average just ten minutes to complete.”
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