Criminal background check now required for certain UK visas

The checks will be imposed specifically on people applying for entrepreneur and investor visa


Web Desk July 21, 2015
PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: A new experimental scheme requires foreign nationals entering the UK to provide proof of criminal record checks with which they will be denied entry.

The checks are set to be imposed specifically on people applying for entrepreneur and investor visas for which they-- along with any dependents-- will have to offer criminal record certificates for everywhere they lived in the last ten years.

However, people applying for short term visas are exempt from the requirement as it will be an unreasonable additional check for the millions of visitors to the UK each year.

The schemes are one of the means by which the government is trying to curb foreign national criminals and has been made public to ensure sufficient time is given to applicants to obtain criminal record certificates. The scheme is expected to be implemented as of September 1.

Read:Foreign students will be forced to leave UK when their course ends

Starting September, anyone unable to provide evidence of criminal record checks will be refused entry to the United Kingdom and additionally, applicants found to have lied in their application will be banned entry to the UK for a decade. Depending on the success of the scheme it may be extended to other types of visas.

Immigration minister James Broken shire explained, “Foreign criminals have no place in the United Kingdom and this scheme will help keep them out."

“Since 2010, checks on foreign nationals going through the UK criminal justice system have increased by more than 1,000 per cent, helping ensure more foreign criminals are taken off our streets and making our communities safer," he added.

“But we want to go further still by preventing these people getting into the country in the first place," he explained, adding that “mandatory police certificates will serve as an additional tool to help us achieve this.”

The restriction does not apply to European nationals due to the freedom of movements rights.

Reports have shown that almost 30,000 migrants arrested in Britain last year held a criminal background in their own countries and according to criminal records office Acro, out of the 190,000 foreign nationals arrested in the last year; less than half had their criminal records checked by the UK police forces.

Read:Tit for tat? Indian Yogis denied visas to Pakistan

Checks like these could have prevented the murder of PC Ian Broad Hurst, who was shot in Leeds by an American fugitive US marine, David Bieber, who was jailed for life for the attempted murders of constables Neil Roper and James Banks. The fugitive criminal had started a new life in the UK under the alias Nathan Coleman.

A similar initiative launched in 2012 titled Operation Nexus caused the removal of thousands of people from the UK including hundreds of dangerous offenders.

This article originally appeared on Express.

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