British Embassy announces new security measures

Thursday, November 27, 2008

As from Wednesday, November 26, foreign nationals applying for entry visa to the United Kingdom will have to comply with new rules.

A dispatch issued by the British High Commission in Banjul indicates that visa applicants will begin applying for identity card bearing their facial image and fingerprints.

According to the press release, the move is geared towards reinforcing security measures so as to help businesses crack down on illegal working. As such, all skilled migrants who have been offered a job in the UK will be able to apply for their UK visa under a new simplified but more secure system.

The press release further outlined that under Tiers 2 of the UK’s new Point Based System (PBS), migrants who have been offered a job will need to be sponsored by their prospective employer as part of their visa application.  The new simplified application process replaces the two stage work permit system and is designed to be more transparent for skilled workers.

Under this new dispensation, skilled foreign nationals will earn points for objective criteria such as qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience.  Only those with enough points can get a visa to work in the UK. In addition, Tiers 2 applicants will need to show a firm job offer before they apply for a visa.  British-based companies will have to prove they cannot fill skilled posts with a resident worker and must show that the job vacancy has been advertised in the UK.  Employers will need a license from the UK Border Agency to offer jobs to skilled workers.

Consequently, the release further noted that the Home Office has launched a new Business Visitor visa which clarifies what activities are permitted during business visits to the UK.  The new visa system will also allow nationals to stay for up to six months to attend meetings, arrange deals, undertake fact finding missions, conduct site visits and undertake promotional activities.

Commenting on the issue, Borders and Immigration, Minister Phil Woolas, said: “The UK is a global hub for business and the changes we are implementing today will make it fairer and clearer for employers and employees to continue to do business here.  This is a key part of the huge shake up to our border security this year.”

Author: DO