In a private presentation to the Cabinet last week the Home Secretary said that Chinese applicants would be offered a ‘faster service’ and help promote a more positive image for those wishing to do business in the Britain.
Earlier this year Mrs May refused to accept that there was a problem and had said she was proud of the system and accused those who otherwise claimed that visa restrictions were spreading a harmful message.
A well-placed Cabinet source said the Home Secretary basically had to back down on UK immigration restrictions and agreed to sort out the problems which many people thought were threatening to hold back economic growth in this country. The message to China being conveyed was that the UK wanted people to come and do business in Britain.
Tourists and businessmen from the booming economy of Asia were deterred by strict visa restrictions that were introduced which had developed into a major economic issue.
Senior businessmen have reportedly had to wait weeks for British visas in China and then had to report to police stations once they arrive. President Barack Obama intervened last year to speed up the process for Chinese nationals seeking US visas.
People seeking visas to come to the UK and problems facing them had been the most discussed issues in Cabinet over the past two years and the Home Secretary was not ready to overhaul the system fearing jeopardizing national security.
However, David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and William Hague had all raised concerns about the problems.
The Daily Telegraph launched a campaign to simplify the rules for Chinese visas, with the red tape estimated to be costing the economy £1.2?billion a year. Britain welcomes 149,000 Chinese holidaymakers a year compared with 1.1 million who travel to France