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Business visitors face strict new rules


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16 October 2008

The new rules published today are designed to safeguard the visitor route into the UK from abuse, while also keeping Britain an attractive place to do business.

Under strict new rules, those wishing to come to the UK on business for up to six months must apply for a dedicated new business visa, and prove they will be carrying out the following activities:

  • attending meetings or conferences
  • arranging deals, negotiating or signing trade agreement or contracts
  • undertaking fact-finding missions, checking details or goods
  • conducting site visits and promotional activities

In June, new visa routes for business, tourist and family visitors were announced in a shake-up of Britain’s short-term visa system.

The statement of intent published today sets out in more detail how the new business visa will work.

Home Office minister's statement

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said, 'Now we are introducing an Australian-style points system for selective migration, it makes sense to tighten visit visas at the same time.

'These changes will help create a fairer Britain with fair treatment for those who play by the rules, but tough action against those who break the law.

'“We want the UK to stay open and attractive to both business and visitors. At the same time we are determined to deliver a system of border security which is among the most secure in the world.'

Visas for entertainers and athletes

Also today, the Home Office set out further detail on two new visitor routes for sportspeople and entertainers, recognising the important contribution they make to British cultural life.

These new routes mean that we can retain a historical concession that allowed sportspeople and entertainers to come here for a short time without a work permit to take part in certain events. 

Under these new routes the following people will now be able to enter the UK using a dedicated new visa:

  • sportspeople and support staff coming for specific events, such as Wimbledon
  • amateur sportspeople joining UK amateur teams for up to six months
  • professional entertainers coming to the UK to take part in music competitions
  • amateur entertainers travelling to the UK for a specific engagement
  • professional entertainers coming to take part in a charity show or where they will receive no fee
  • professional and amateur entertainers taking part in a ‘permit-free festival’ such as the Edinburgh Festival

All of the changes set out in the document published today will sit alongside the points-based system, which replaces around 80 different work permit routes with just five tiers.

Those travelling into the UK are locked into one identity through the introduction of fingerprinting for all visa applicants, a new hi-tech system for counting people in and out of the country and the rollout of ID cards for all foreign nationals.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-10-22 14:02:04 in Business Articles

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