Chinese and Indian visitors will soon find travelling between Britain and Ireland easier thanks to a new joint visa initiative.
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From the end of October 2014, travellers China can travel freely between Britain and Ireland on a single visa.
The two nations are also ready to ink a single visa scheme for India within a few weeks.
The governments view both Asian nations as important tourism and business partners and expect around 10,000 visitors a year to take advantage of the single visa arrangements.
The scheme is part of a wider immigration agreement between the UK and Ireland, which will also see border guards of both countries share terrorist and criminal watch-lists and other information about travellers.
“The arrangement makes travelling easier for thousands of visitors and strengthens border controls at the same time,” said British Home Secretary Theresa May.
The main advantage for Chinese and Indian visitors will be easy access between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Chinese or Indian visitors who want a single visa should apply from their own countries before making a trip to the UK or Ireland.
Travellers to Bahrain will also find an easing of visa policies will let them make online applications before their trip or pick them up on arrival in the country.
Visitors from more than 100 countries can take part in the scheme aimed at encouraging tourism and business.
Expats are also included in the new measures and are expected to find entering and leaving the country a less stressful process.
“The new visa system will help businesses employing expats as well as tourists,” said a spokesman for the Bahraini government.
Record visitor numbers
Canada has seen a record year for issuing trade and travel visas, according to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
The government granted more visas in the first eight months of the year than in any other year.
Most went to visitors from China (272,608), India (117,927), Mexico (59,863) and Brazil (55,730).
Many of the visas are for multiple entries, allowing visitors to go to the Canada for six months in total over a 10 year period.
In August, 89,000 multiple entry visas were issued.
“These record numbers reflect Canada’s popularity a place to do business, study and visit,” said Alexander.
“We are proud to welcome so many visitors and are pleased our new streamlined immigration services are allowing us to handle so many applications without the back-logs and problems of the past.”
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