27 Jan 2008

Changes

Once again the UK immigration department has proposed changes. If approved (as they most likely will) they will come into effect from April 2008. Among these changes proposed are:

  • people putting up a financial deposit (£1000 per person) 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.

In addition:

From spring 2008 the aim is for the bio-metric 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 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.

These quotes above are taken directly from the immigration (Home Office) website.

The cost of processing applications has also gone up. For example, the cost of applying for citizenship has risen from £285 to £655 in 2007 (and may rise again in 2008).

My take on this is that since Britain cannot legally prevent people from the poorer Eastern European countries coming here to settle (they are eligible for welfare benefits such as housing the moment they hit UK borders), they are trying to price them out of coming here.

Of course, now everyone else is caught in it too.

So next time you have visitors planning to come over, be prepared to dig deep. Real deep.

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