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Visas to be required for Uk travel

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Old 09-02-2009, 12:29 PM   #1
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Visas to be required for Uk travel

South Africans will have to get a visa to visit Britain as part of an overhaul of immigration rules to tackle people smuggling and terrorism, the Government is expected to announce.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, is due to outline the new rules to MPs in the House of Commons, six months after the Home Office threatened the move unless South Africa implemented new security measures.

It comes amid fears that people smugglers and terrorist groups could exploit weaknesses in the South African passport system to get into Britain.

Such a move would come as a blow to the more than 400,000 South Africans who come to Britain every year - one of the largest groups of overseas visitors to the country.

In common with US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens, people from South Africa can come to Britain as tourists for up to six months as long as their passport is valid for that length of time.

But Whitehall officials fear that the country could potentially become a staging post for al-Qaeda terrorists hoping to come to the UK.

They believe it is too easy for non-South Africans to obtain a South African passport allowing them enter Britain without further checks.

The Home Office threatened to impose visa requirements on people from South African last summer unless the country tightened up procedures within six months.

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Old 09-02-2009, 06:44 PM   #2
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mmmm, I have heard from a UK embassy insider here that the real reason for the visa requirement is basically punishment for SA's inaction on the Zimbabwean issue.
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:13 PM   #3
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Here's the official reason given by the UK Border agency

Visa checks are to be introduced for five countries after they failed to pass the United Kingdom's strict new Visa Waiver Test.

Following the Government's first global review of who needs a visa to come to the United Kingdom, visas will now be required for visitors from Bolivia, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Venezuela.

Already, three-quarters of the world's population need to apply for a visa if they want to visit the United Kingdom.

Widening the visa net is part of the Government's action to tighten border security. There is now a triple ring of security protecting the United Kingdom: fingerprint visas that lock people to one identity, a high-tech electronic borders system which checks people against watchlists, and identity cards for foreign nationals.

The Visa Waiver Test reviewed all non-European countries and regions to determine the risk their citizens potentially posed to the United Kingdom - in terms of illegal immigration, crime and security - by not having to apply for a visa before they travelled.

In July 2008 the UK Border Agency found that 11 countries fell short of the required standard. Over the past six months, the Agency and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have worked closely with those countries to improve their passport and border control systems. It has now been decided that visa checks are required for five of them in order to stop fraudulent attempts to enter the United Kingdom.

Nationals of Bolivia, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Venezuela already need a visa to work or settle in the UK, as do all nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area. Now they will need to apply for a visa even if they are visiting the UK for less than six months. In the case of Venezuela, visitors who have new secure fingerprint passports issued since 2007 will be allowed to enter the UK without applying for a visa.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:

"The Government said it would get tough and we meant it. Already our shake-up of border security is delivering results, with three million fingerprints taken from visa applicants and 3,000 people caught trying to hide their identity.

"Today's announcement sees these tough checks extended to a further five countries.

"The message is clear - we will not shy away from widening the visa net further wherever we think there's a risk to the UK."

Additionally, anyone wishing to travel from Bolivia, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland or Venezuela to another country via the United Kingdom will now need a transit visa. The same transit visa requirements have been extended to Jamaican nationals wanting to pass through the United Kingdom.

Everyone applying for a visa to enter the United Kingdom is now fingerprinted, locking them to one identity, and checked against Government watchlists. They are then screened and counted in and out of the UK using the UK Border Agency's e-Borders system.

First-time visitors to the United Kingdom from South Africa will need to apply for visas from 3 March 2009, with the full visa regime there and in the other countries coming into effect by mid-2009.

The visa regime for Taiwanese passport holders wil be lifted as a result of the Visa Waiver Test. This will take effect from 3 March 2009.

Note Phil Woolas projecting his standard "tough guy" image. Playing to the growing UK xenophobia as usual - lots of votes in that game.

Last edited by alvonhumb : 10-02-2009 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:29 AM   #4
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All just goes to show how terrorism continues to win in a submersive manner
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