New fast track UK visa scheme for selected Sri Lankan businesses

Dec 07, Colombo: The British High Commission (BHC) in Colombo on Wednesday announced a launch of a new fast track visa pilot scheme for selected business companies in Sri Lanka.

In a statement, the BHC has announced that 20 selected Sri Lankan companies have been invited by UK Trade and Investment and the UK Border Agency to be members of the pilot Business Express Programme.

“As part of the pilot scheme, the UK Border Agency will put in place special arrangements for Company members of this programme. This will include, for an additional fee, expediting the processing of UK business visitor visa applications for company employees,” the statement said.

Announcing the special programme, John Rankin, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said he is delighted to see the service launched in Sri Lanka.

“This pilot scheme is intended to directly support those Sri Lankan companies whose employees undertake a significant amount of business travel to the UK, or otherwise invest in the UK,” he said.

In 2010, the UK was Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner, by volume and the initiative demonstrates the UK Government’s continuing support for those strong and enduring business links, he noted.

“I hope this pilot scheme proves successful and strengthens the existing Sri Lanka-UK trade relationship,” Rankin has said.

Thomas Greig, Regional Director of the UK Border Agency has said that he is pleased to see the UK Border Agency and UK Trade and Investment are working together to provide this service.

“The Business Express Programme will offer an enhanced visa service to a select group of companies. In addition, the UK Border Agency and its commercial partner VFS Global are committed to providing an efficient service to all our customers in Sri Lanka,” Greig has said.

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