15 March 2013

Theresa May halts UK visa plans for Brazilian tourists

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The Home Secretary Theresa May has reportedly shelved plans to introduce UK visa requirements for Brazilian tourists.

UK visa

Home Secretary Theresa May will not be introducing UK visa requirements for Brazilian tourists.

Under current legislation, Brazilian tourists can visit Britain for up to six months without the need for a UK visa. However, Brazil also ranks fifth in the top 10 nationalities of illegal immigrants in the UK.

Mrs May was reportedly considering introducing visa requirements for Brazilian visitors, similar to those regulations brought in in 2008 for South African, Venezuelan and Bolivian visitors.

But following protests about the impact visa restrictions could have on the British economy, Mrs May has reportedly halted her plans.

"Brazil is an important partner for the UK and we are investing greatly in our diplomatic and economic ties," said a Government spokesperson.

"We have no current plans to impose a visa regime on Brazil."

Alongside Russia, India and China, Brazil is one of the four developing BRIC economies yet is the only one which doesn't currently require a visa to visit the UK.

Brazilian and Chinese tourists have been shown to spend more on holiday than any other nationality; Brazilian visitors alone spent over £300 million in the UK in 2011. Business and tourism bodies have complained in recent weeks about the onerous visa requirements for Chinese tourists so the decision not to introduce similar measures for Brazilians has been met warmly.

"I am delighted it is not going to happen because Brazil is one of the most important nations on Earth and we have to build as close relations with them as possible," said Conservative MP Robert Halfon, adding that introducing visas would have 'given out a [wrong] signal to Brazilian business'.

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