Mark Leftly: The Tories play a waiting game on the 24-hour visa

 

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Westminster Outlook The first story briefed to the press on the way to Sydney was of the decision to expand the super fast-track visa programme to encompass seven extra countries, including Thailand and the UAE. At present, the 24-hour visa is only available in India and China.

Even though the visas cost £600 over the usual charges, these are clearly valuable for business executives in these countries if there is a sudden problem in a British subsidiary or a FTSE 100 deal to be brokered.

While it is understandable that the 24-hour visa should be trialled in a few countries, I think it’s interesting that the expansion is relatively small. Look out for the Tories to bolster their already substantial business vote with a manifesto pledge to roll out the policy around the world at next year’s general election.

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