Feb 11 2013
Britain must make sure its borders are "as open as possible" to genuine foreign business visitors and investment, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Cable said the UK is not "inward looking" and welcomes talent from emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Focusing on Chinese investment and tourism, the Business Secretary said Britain's share of Chinese visitors has been dropping with evidence of people labelling the visa system as "unfriendly and inflexible".
A recent crackdown on immigration has drawn criticism for deterring talented individuals and businesses from applying to work or study in the UK.
Mr Cable said: "Of course, it is necessary to prevent abuse of the immigration rules. But equally we cannot allow red tape to deter the very people that we want to come to the UK and help make the economy stronger. We want to create and promote an image of Britain which means and delivers what it says on the tin: open for global business."
The Government is clamping down on bogus foreign students through initiatives such as interviews with applicants from high-risk countries and barring more than 500 colleges from taking non-EU students.
Universities have condemned the crackdown, claiming it had driven large numbers of genuine overseas applicants to competitor countries.
The Government has also tightened rules of entry through the "entrepreneur route", which is designed to attract investment to the UK from serious businessmen, in a bid to tackle foreign nationals gain access to the UK by setting up fake businesses.
Mr Cable went on: "It is my job in government to champion British business, universities and science, all of which require that our border controls are administered with a minimum of fuss and bureaucracy."
He added: "Immigration is an emotional subject and it is important that the public is reassured that it is under control. But the administration of it has to be business-like, supportive of economic growth and welcoming to genuine visitors."