UK Home Office puts forward proposals to strengthen visitors’ visas

December 19th, 2007 - 2:26 pm ICT by admin  

London, Dec.19 (ANI): New proposals to ensure visitors to the UK comply with the conditions of their visa were announced by the Home Office in a consultation published today.
The consultation document seeks views on proposals which include:
*People putting up a financial deposit to ensure any foreign national family members return home following their visit from overseas;
*Reducing the length of time a tourist can stay in the UK from six to three months;
*Creating a specific business and specialist visa; and
*Creating a specific visa for one-off events such as the Olympics.
The consultation was launched as the Government announced that over one million fingerprints have now been collected from overseas foreign nationals applying to come to the UK as part of its biometrics visas programme.
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “Tougher checks abroad mean we keep risky people out. By next spring we’ll check everyone’s fingerprints when they apply for a visa; now we’re proposing a financial guarantee as well - not for everyone, but where we think there’s a risk.
“Our aim is to make the system both more secure, but also to ensure that we maintain the UK’s position as a destination of choice for tourists. In 2006, people from overseas spent PS15.4 billion in the UK with the tourism industry employing 1.4 million people.”
So far visa applicants in more than 120 countries worldwide are required to provide fingerprints if they want to visit the UK for work, study or tourism. Biometric checks have identified over 10,000 visa applicants who have previously been fingerprinted in the UK in connection with immigration cases or asylum applications.
From spring 2008 the aim is for the biometric programme to be extended to all visa applicants globally.
The visitor consultation proposals build on proposed new penalties on employers of illegal immigrants and a licensing system for any employer or college wishing to recruit from outside the EU. Together these form part of a series of changes the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) are introducing over the next 12 months including:
*An Australian style points based system for managing migration;
*A unified border force bringing together the Border and Immigration Agency, Customs and UK Visas providing a tougher, highly visible policing presence at Britain’s ports and airports; and
*Compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals allowing us to know who is here and what they are entitled to.
Taken together, these measures are the biggest shake-up of the immigration system in its history. They will allow the UK to continue to reap the benefits of migration, while also preventing abuse of the system. (ANI)

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