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`Tourist visas not for back door entry into the UK’: warns Border Agency

`Officers are skilled at spotting non genuine tourists’
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28th September 2010: The UK Border Agency has warned that tourist visas should not be seen as a back door into the UK; and its officers were skilled at spotting non genuine tourists. Action is initiated when their stories lack credibility.

The assertion came soon after an American, who flew to Cardiff Airport claiming he wanted to pay a visit to his internet girlfriend, was refused entry to the country after UKBA officers “discovered he intended to set up home with her permanently in Pontypool”.

Assistant director for Wales, UK Border Agency Bob Lyne said: ‘Tourist visas should not be seen as a back door into the UK. We have to maintain strict controls on the numbers of people coming to live in the UK permanently and we will refuse entry to anyone we suspect to be bending the rules.

‘Uncontrolled immigration would put unsustainable pressure on public services and increase the burden on taxpayers.

‘Our officers at the UK’s border are skilled at spotting those who are not genuine tourists and when their stories lack credibility we take action.

‘If people intend to come to live or work in the UK then they need to apply for the correct visa.

‘The UK Border Agency is working hard to combat illegal immigration and Britain’s border security has never been stronger.’

The UKBA said: `The 43-year-old man arrived at the airport on a flight from the US, via Amsterdam, on Wednesday 22 September.

`He told our officers at passport control that he wanted to visit a woman he had met on the internet two years previously as well as spending several months visiting castles and travelling around Britain.

`However, officers found that he had just 31 cents in cash and a baggage search revealed that he was carrying numerous personal documents including his birth certificate, divorce papers and bankruptcy papers.

`He also had personal letters and cards written to him by his girlfriend which suggested that he intended to make a new life in Wales.

`All of this indicated to officers that he was planning to stay in the UK for much longer than he had claimed and in breach of his tourist visa.

`The man later admitted he had begun shipping his personal possessions to his girlfriend’s home in Pontypool.

`The woman was contacted and she confirmed that the pair intended to continue their relationship in the UK.

`The American man was refused entry to the UK because he was not a genuine tourist and was removed on the first available flight to the US, via Amsterdam’.

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