Tougher visa rules for non-Europeans

UK and Ireland may impose six-month visa regime on visitors from 11 countries

24 November 2008. At the end of the year, the UK government is due to consider whether to introduce new visa requirements for visitors from 11 non-EU states. In response, the Irish government is expected to take a similar decision.

The Irish Times has published that the British Home Office will decide in December whether to revoke the right of visa-free travel to the UK from citizens of Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Following a "visa waiver test" of all non-EU countries, the Home Office said last summer that there was a "strong case" for imposing a tighter visa regime for the 11 countries.
The test looked at the level of risk nationals from all non-EU countries posed, based on factors such as illegal immigration, crime and security.

The Department of Justice in Ireland may immitate the British and impose tougher visa rules on citizens from the 11 countries. A spokeswoman told the Irish Times:

"In the event of the United Kingdom deciding to implement such a change, the question of whether or not Ireland will impose similar requirements will be given full consideration, particularly in light of the common travel area which operates between Ireland and the United Kingdom".

In July, the British government said visitors from the 11 countries would require a new, six-month visa unless the "risk" posed by nationals from these states was significantly reduced by the end of the year.

The authorities in the UK and Ireland are worried that some people from "visa-free" states abuse the absence of a visa requirement for students or tourists with the intention of staying to work.

The UK government revealed it arrived at the list of 11 states – which have a combined population of over 300 million – by looking at passport security and integrity, the level of co-operation in dealing with deportations of a country’s nationals from the UK, the number of illegal workers in the UK and other "immigration abuse", as well as levels of crime and terrorism risk posed to the UK.

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