Tough British visa rules bar even friendly Canadians

May 23rd, 2009 - 12:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, May 23 (IANS) Britain’s new tough visa regime is biting even friendly nations like Canada, whose citizens don’t need visas to enter the European country.
The new visa rules, which came into force Nov 27 last year, are ostensibly aimed at fighting terrorism and illegal immigration.

Musician Allison Crowe and her two band mates became the new visa regime’s first Canadian victims when they were deported Friday from London’s Gatwick airport after being held for failing to produce a letter of sponsorship from the venues where they were scheduled to play.

According to the band’s manager, the British authorities confiscated their passports on arrival at Gatwick airport Tuesday.

While Crowe, guitarist Billy Woods and drummer Laurent Boucher were detained, another band member, bassist Dave Baird, was allowed entry as he holds dual British and Canadian citizenship.

Crowe, 27, was quoted as saying in the local media that the British authorities shut them in a room for six hours and threatened that she could never perform in Europe if her passport was stamped by the UK Border Authority as “barred from entry”.

The band was embarking on a month-long European tour from Britain.

A roots and soul singer, Crow has performed many times in Britain. She and her band are now flying from Toronto to Frankfurt to complete the rest of their European tour.

The band says German officials have told them that they are welcome into their country any time without any sponsorship papers.

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