On 15th July 2008, Ambassador Fu Ying met with Home Office Minister of State for Borders and Immigration Liam Byrne. They exchanged views on immigration questions including employment difficulty of Chinese students in UK upon graduation, high expenses of student visa extension, and staff shortage in Chinese restaurants.
Ambassador Fu indicated that the recent years have witnessed a fast growth of overseas Chinese students in UK. Most of the graduates have gone back to China for employment and become talents pushing for development in China. As China adjusts its economic structure, there has been a growing demand for high-level talents, in particular those with overseas working experience. Many Chinese students wish to work in British enterprises after graduation to accumulate experience. However given current regulations, it’s fairly difficult for Chinese students to hunt for jobs and get visas. Over the years, overseas Chinese students in America and other countries have got the chance to work in local enterprises. They have won favor of major Chinese companies because of their overseas working experience, and many have got into top management, serving as forces promoting commercial and investment cooperation between China and America and other countries. She expressed hopes that UK would value the precious resources of overseas Chinese students in UK, adjust employment policy targeted for Chinese students, facilitate more Chinese students to work in major British companies, and train talents for the benefits of Sino-British economic cooperation.
Fu Ying noted that the high expenses of student visa extension should be given due attention by the British side. Many Chinese students will flinch at increased expenses. Students have reacted strongly and many British schools also have complaints.From a long-term perspective, this will affect Sino-British educational cooperation.
Byrne thanked Ambassador Fu for her advice of giving more employment opportunities to Chinese students, and promised to give it further consideration. He also indicated that efforts are being made to simplify student visa categories.
On staff shortage of Chinese restaurants that the Chinese community have reacted strongly, Fu Ying said the immigration point system recently launched by the British government and the fact of publicizing on Border Agency website the list of those restaurants fined for employing illegal labor have challenged the development of Chinese catering industry. Over 10,000 Chinese restaurants and take away restaurants in UK are under great pressure, and even risk closures. Fu once again expressed her hopes that the British side would give full consideration to the particularity of Chinese catering industry and lower access threshold of cooks. Byrne noted that his previous personal visits to Chinese restaurants and talks with Chinese cooks gave him new understanding of the Chinese catering industry. MAC will publish at the end of August staff shortage report of various trades including the Chinese catering industry.
The two sides also exchanged views on the implementation of the MOU on facilitating legal travel and combating illegal migration.