17 October 2008

Strict visa rules for business visitors to the UK

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As part of this year's changes to the UK immigration system, new regulations have been added to the UK Business Visa, making it tougher for people to defraud the system.

Those wishing to visit Britain for up to six months for purposes of business must apply for a new UK business visa and follow strict new rules.  More specifically, business visa holders must be able to prove they are attending meetings or conferences, arranging deals, negotiating or signing trade agreements or contracts, are researching facts, details or goods, and visiting sites and promotions.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said the tightening of the visa rules should go hand-in-hand with the government's shake-up of the immigration system.

"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," Mr Woolas said in a press release.

Yesterday, the Home Office also announced new routes for sportspeople and entertainers to visit Britain, which will allow them to involve themselves in events without applying for a UK work permit.

As part of the new visa, amateur sportspeople will be able to join amateur teams for up to six months, and sportspeople and support staff will be able to work at major events.  Professional entertainers will be able to compete in Britain and perform at unpaid (charity) events, while amateur entertainers will be able to perform at specific engagements.  Both amateur and professional entertainers will also be able to perform at "permit-free" events such as Edinburgh Festival.


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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