Information sharing between the UK and the US has made the UK Visa and immigration process more secure.
22 November 2010
UK Immigration Minister makes first trip to the US
The UK Immigration Minister Damian Green visited the US last week to see UK and US immigration controls and discuss joint work and information sharing to tackle illegal immigration.
During a speech to ministers and heads of border control in Washington the UK Immigration Minister highlighted the importance of sharing information to stop those trying to enter countries illegally.
Mr Green said: “Existing agreements allow us to share fingerprints taken for immigration purposes and match these against each others’ immigration databases. If a match is found, biographical information is shared between countries, stopping the use of false identities and nationalities.
“This has already yielded positive results – 89 per cent of the cases in a US - UK pilot phase claiming asylum as unaccompanied minors had previously given details in the US indicating they were adults. This allows frontline officers to improve detection of fraudulent identity documents, and improve public safety by exposing those with criminal histories,” he said.
During his tour of the US the minister was also shown border operations at New York’s JFK Airport. He also met UK Border Agency staff and saw the UK Visa application processing at the British Consulate in New York. The team processes UK Visa applications from 34 countries across the Americas and in 2009 dealt with around 56,000 applications.
Speaking in New York, Damian Green said: “We have one of the strongest and longest relations in the world with the US. There are big challenges facing us that are the same – the challenge of worldwide terrorism, the challenges of international crime, drug smuggling. We can help each other and we do help each other”.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their UK immigration applications to the British High Commission.