12 September 2008

UK Embassy donates vehicle to help visa fraud in Philippines

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The UK Embassy has donated a vehicle to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to help prevent identity and visa fraud, in conjunction with the Police Referral Programme, a partnership between the British Embassy and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Interpol Division.

The Police Referral Program is focused on reducing the number of visa-related fraudulence, and since its implementation (June 2007) has arrested over 70 Philippine nationals and visa syndicates for participating in illegal emigration to the UK

The British Embassy last week donated an SUV to the NBI to help with the program, which adds to previous provisions over the past year, including specially equipped laptop computers, mobile phones, printers and scanners to NBI Director Nestor Mantaring as part of a partnership to combat extortion and document falsification.

"A large majority of visa applicants are legitimate travellers who enrich the UK culturally and economically, and we openly encourage and welcome newcomers, travellers and visitors who want to work hard and enjoy the many attractions that Britain has to offer. However a minority of individuals try to abuse the rules, and our partnership with the NBI aims to secure the lives and property of people who travel to Britain," British Ambassador Peter Beckingham said in a press release.

Over 40,000 Filipinos apply for UK visas every year.  As part of the shake-up to the British immigration system, applicants for UK visas are now required to provide biometric data to reduce the risk of document forgery.  Applicants who have previously produced falsified documents for a visa application are banned from entering the UK for ten years.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau.

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