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UK chancellor: “Stop treating China like a sweatshop on the Pearl River”

Posted: 10/15/2013 7:00 am

Britain’s chief financial minister George Osborne has said that Britain must show respect and stop treating China like a sweatshop on the Pearl River, The Daily Telegraph reports. Osborne made the remarks as Britain loosens its visa policy for Chinese tourists.

Osborne, the Conservative chancellor of the exchequer, told BBC Radio 4 during his ongoing China trip: “Of course we can bring up issues that we have concerns about. But we have to respect the fact that it is a deep and ancient civilisation that is tackling its own problems. We do need to show some respect for that.”

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, China did well to identify export markets and grew rapidly due to a vast increase in its exports of cheap manufactured goods such as clothes and textiles. At the country’s current stage of development this is not sustainable. For this reason, China has shifted its focus to exporting high-end manufactured goods and been successful in doing so. Since 2011, Chinese exports to the U.S. of high-tech electronics, auto parts and optical devices rose 24% to $129 billion, while exports of clothing rose just 5% to $47 billion, as the Wall Street Journal reported in April.

Osborne appears to want a piece of this pie as well as invite investment from China. It was reported Sunday that a deal with Chinese investors will see an Airport City at Manchester Airport creating as many as 16,000 jobs.

The paper has more:

Chinese leaders are determined to tackle corruption and organised crime and Britain must take advantage of their booming economy, Mr Osborne said, as he announced a radical relaxation of visa rules intended to boost the number of Chinese business travellers and tourists to Britain.

Under plans revealed by the Chancellor in China today, Chinese visitors will be able to apply for a British visa using the same form as that used to enter the EU’s ‘Schengen’ zone. Currently visitors have to fill in a lengthy separate application and have their fingerprints taken.

A 24-hour “super-priority” service will operate from next summer. Officials are also looking at expanding a VIP mobile visa service, currently operating in Beijing and Shanghai, to the whole country.

He also said a new wave of Chinese tourists would be “fantastic” for the British hotel industry, even though concerns have been raised around the world about the behaviour of Chinese tourists.

However, not everybody supports the move.

Home secretary Theresa May said relaxing visa arrangements for Chinese travellers would threaten national security and bring organised criminals and fraudsters to Britain. She has attempted to block the proposals but is unlikely to get her way.

This is good news for all kinds of people, from entrepreneurs trying to do business between the two countries to people trying to relocate their Chinese spouse or family to Britain.


New visa laws to make life harder for illegal expats, easier for highly skilled ones

Posted: 07/3/2013 7:00 am

With its proximity to Hong Kong, Guangdong is a fairly easy place in which to work illegally. One can for example, hold a full-time job while on a business visa and do a visa turnaround at the border once a month. But under new exit and entry laws, foreigners caught working illegally are set to receive tougher punishments, Shenzhen Daily reports.

For the first time, foreigners can be detained for five to 15 days if they’re caught illegally living or working in China.

Illegal migrants can now be fined 5,000 yuan (US$794) to 20,000 yuan and face deportation under the new law. Their employers could be fined up to 100,000 yuan per individual illegal employee.

The new laws also include the creation of a “talent visa.” Overseas candidates with management experience at leading multinationals and top specialists in education and science are eligible to apply.

“Urgently needed” professionals, as stated in the law, will be able to apply for the new talent visa, which grants residency for up to five years, or multiple entries and stays of up to 180 days at a time.

Some 47,100 foreigners were caught violating the immigration law last year. You can increase your chances of avoiding this fate by following the advice in this extremely helpful article.

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