Tycoons to get bespoke visa service
Top business executives from around the world will benefit from a new VIP visa service designed to make the process of coming to the UK easier.
The invitation-only Great club will benefit around 100 tycoons with strong links to Britain, providing them "bespoke" support from UK Visas and Immigration.
Home Secretary Theresa May promised to "continue to listen and respond to the needs of high-value and high-priority businesses".
Members of the exclusive club will still have to go through the same visa checks as ordinary travellers, but they will be provided with a dedicated account manager to ensure their journey through the system is "swift and smooth", the Home Office said.
The new scheme will operate as a 12-month pilot, starting in the new year.
Mrs May said: "I created UK Visas and Immigration in March to provide a focus on delivering excellent customer service. These changes will allow us to maintain a world class, competitive visa system that can innovate in order to serve the ever-changing needs of business and ensure Britain succeeds in the global race.
"We will continue to listen and respond to the needs of high-value and high-priority businesses so that we can provide them with a service that supports economic growth, while at the same time maintains the security of our borders."
Other steps being taken by the Government as part of efforts to encourage business visitors include e xpanding the priority visa service from 67 countries to over 90 countries by spring 2014.
A same-day visa service, already in operation in India and soon to be available in China, will be made available in other key locations by the end of next year.
In India a mobile visa service allowing VIPs to have their biometric data and photo taken at their place of work will be introduced, along with a pilot scheme allowing applicants to retain their passport while their application is considered.