The authorities in Beijing are expecting to issue a record number of visas to foreigners in 2010 as more expats job opportunities arise, it is claimed.

Both students and foreign employees in China's capital city are expected to increase and as the government want to be more open two years of strict visa policies are to be reversed.

According to Jia Keming, director of the exit and entry administration of the Beijing public security bureau, the previous record of 210,000 visas issues in 2007 will be exceeded.

'The reviving economy this year is expected to bring a consistent number of foreign students and attract a greater number of foreign employees. We also predict a similar rise for travel and business visas,' Keming said.

New visa branches are being opened to cope with the anticipated demand. The number of visas granted slumped in recent years as the authorities tightened applications to the capital city during the Beijing Olympics and the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China. Keming said this was done for safety reasons due to unprecedented demand.

Local authorities in China have been known to decline visa applications over political concerns. Keming said though that most are denied due to false identification or violation of specific regulations set by the central government. 'The majority of visa applicants will find their requests more likely to be accepted this year,' he declared.

Most people should not face problems, according to Terry Crossman of Cross Search International, a foreign consulting firm. He says that he uses a visa service company to renew his paperwork every year. He confirmed that there is a perception that it is very hard to get a visa but he advised that if you use a company used to handling the paperwork it should be easier.

Other expats confirmed that it has been harder in the last couple of years and welcomed the pledge to make it easier. One US expat said he was once given the wrong type of visa and he had to go and come back into the country every 60 days for a year.

More than 110,000 expats live in Beijing, according to official figures. The new visa branches will deal with new visas and renewals.