Anti-immigration policies damage economic growth


Olivia Boland, Chair of the Suffolk Chinese Family Welfare Association and graduate of OBV’s MP Shadowing Scheme believes that the UK’s anti-immigrant policies towards Chinese tourists is not only xenophobic, but detrimental to our economic growth.

There is an easy, fast way to generate jobs in the UK - that is to stop the UK Border Agency (UKBA) shutting Chinese tourists out of Britain.

With a Schengen visa, around 1 million Chinese tourists visit France a year, spending £1500 each, the highest spending per head of international tourists. France is estimating that 4 to 5 million Chinese tourists will visit France by 2015.

Yet our Home Office and UKBA are treating the potential Chinese tourists as criminals, making them endure several hour long journeys to be finger printed as part of the visa application, and setting up hurdles after hurdles for the applicants to jump through. It is no wonder, therefore that Britain only gets 100,000 Chinese tourists a year.

Spending around £1500 each, Chinese tourists are a very lucrative market. Quite simply, Chinese tourists equate to jobs. There will be the need for new hotels, upgrading the old hotels, more tour buses, more shopping malls etc. etc. If we let the same amount of Chinese tourists in as France, this would help boost our economy and lower the unemployment rate.

If with a small additional fee, we allow Chinese tourists who get Schengen tourists visa to come to Britain, there is every possibility that the Chinese tour operators will add London on its itinerary and possibly as the first landing city in Europe for the European tours.

I believe that Britain cannot afford Theresa May and Chris Grayling’s xenophobic policies. The damage done by them to our tourism industry is immense. We simply cannot afford to keep them – elections are won on competence over economy, not some scaremongering immigration policies.

Olivia Boland