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 Post subject: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 06 Mar 2009 16:07 
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Britain's strict visa rules threaten to 'drive away
international and theatre stars!

Major opera houses frequently have to call on foreign stars to fly in at short notice and save a performance if a principal goes sick.

Until now British immigration officials have been helpful in rushing through visas and work permits before curtain-up.
But new Home Office rules mean all non-EU citizens wanting to enter the UK must attend a British embassy abroad in advance to provide fingerprints and a facial scan.

Applicants must then wait several days while their name is checked against 'watch lists' to weed out terrorists or major criminals.

Britain's NEW strict visa rules

But the new rules make such last minute 'opera-rescues' impossible.

The Home Office remained defiant insisting the new rules were needed to bolster Britain's security and must apply to everyone.

A spokeswoman said: 'We will not apologise for our commitment to a system of border security which is among the most secure in the world. That's why we are fingerprinting everyone who applies for a visa and checking them against watch lists.


That is the tip of the iceberg and the amount of tourists, business people and so on who would come to the UK it is clearly way down.

This is not security but the illusion of it - the "terrorists" are already in the country and in Europe!


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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 06 Mar 2009 16:30 
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Now the Times are on this too....

Immigration points system counts so heavily against our arts scene

The Visa rules need to be more flexible in their requirements!

There's no doubt that one of the surest ways to secure peace and harmony among the peoples of the world is to let them play music together, share dance, see each others' plays and performances. I start with such an overarching and undeniable statement because I'm about to plunge into the world of bureaucracy that is the immigration Points-Based System (PBS). It is a nightmare of confusion, increasing cost and finicky detail that is threatening the vibrancy and spontaneity of the whole arts scene in Britain. Put simply, the getting of visas for artists to enter the UK is getting more costly, more complex and more time-consuming... all of which runs entirely against the way arts institutions - theatres, orchestras, festivals - actually function.

Well the whole system is just another exersise to cover al their previous mistakes and an act to be seen that they are doing something to control immigration.......

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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 06 Mar 2009 19:44 
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Our Goverment should do what America does!

The cost of getting any visa to the UK *is* prohibitively expensive and has been for many years. It’s intended to discourage people to want to visit the UK, primarily from third world countries as £80 fee for basic visa is a lot of money in those countries.

The whole system is not only economically very expensive for anyone who wants to visit the UK but also with the Biometric system in place, has become prohibited for most of the people of a third world country who do not live in the Capital or another town where the UKBA has Application centres.

In Russia, for example, which is a huge country, there are 4 VAC, in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don, where the biometrics are collected, so a Russian person from Vladivostok (a 10 hours flight) or any other part of Russia must waste 2-3 days of work at a huge costs for a Tourist visa just to visit our country!

The Government should get rid of the requirement to give fingerprints (Biometrics) BEFORE applying for the visa because it catches a pitifully small number of "rouge" applicants and almost none are terrorist suspects - most are people who are failed asylum seekers, or visa overstayers and the such like.

They should do what the USA does, biometric check at the point of entry, which is much more humane and not financially prohibiting.

Is it better to demand that people travel sometimes huge distances to give biometric data or to stand in a queue at Heathrow for an hour?

If I lived in Vladivostok or anywhere in Siberia, I know which answer I'd give!


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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 16 Apr 2009 01:59 
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Stupidity and the British Immigration System

From the article British sheep face shearing crisis

British sheep face a sweltering summer in their thick winter fleeces due to a shortfall of shearers from Australia and New Zealand who face tough new immigration rules, it was claimed Wednesday.

The new rules risk making it difficult or impossible for some 500 shearers who regularly help trim the fleeces of over a quarter of Britain's estimated 14.5 million sheep, industry figures claimed.

"The UK sheep sector relies on the shearing undertaken by these very skilled shearing gangs from the southern hemisphere, said farmer Frank Langrish, chairman of the British Wool Marketing Board.

The new biometric card costs 200 pounds per applicant, and requires Australian workers to travel personally to the capital Canberra for fingerprinting and photographic identity details, said Langrish.

"This is bureaucracy taken to the extreme and will mean millions of our sheep will suffer this summer," said Rob Morris

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My thoughts

Maybe now that animals are about to suffer somebody might do something about the stupidity of having to travel up to half way across the world just to have a photo taken and provide a copy of fingerprints (every time that a visa is applied for.)

I doubt that the rules have prevented very few (if any) criminals from emtering the UK.

As for the unwanted entering the UK, just go to France, jump under a lorry and Hey Presto unpack your baggage in London in a few hours.

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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 16 Apr 2009 06:42 
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Rasboinik wrote:

Maybe now that animals are about to suffer somebody might do something about the stupidity of having to travel up to half way across the world just to have a photo taken and provide a copy of fingerprints (every time that a visa is applied for.)

I doubt that the rules have prevented very few (if any) criminals from emtering the UK.

As for the unwanted entering the UK, just go to France, jump under a lorry and Hey Presto unpack your baggage in London in a few hours.


You are absolutely right :bravo:

but somehow I don't think that our Goverment will do anything to rectify such a big mistake which will affect the incoming tourist industry very heavily and Brittain will loose billions of foreign currency.

The new immigation rules are nothing more than a smoke screen to cover their years of incompetence!


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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#6  PostPosted: 16 Apr 2009 08:03 
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French fishermen achieve what the Borders Agency can't!

Take comfort that over the past couple of days the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the channel in the backs of trucks has slowed to a trickle. A few ragged-arsed French fishermen have achieved what the entire UK Borders Agency have failed to do. :lol:

I suggest we employ these diligent and tenacious men in Calais on a bounty system - €1,000 for every illegal they find within the port boundary. It's better money than they make fishing and at a fraction of the risk, cheaper than the subsidy they cost the European taxpayer and they'll actually be doing some good.

:D

Channel blockades enter third day - BBC


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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#7  PostPosted: 30 Oct 2009 12:36 
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And the award for worst bureaucracy goes to... the UK!


Yes, that's right - UK!

Living in Moldova, I have seen quite a lot of red tape and one would think that Moldova would be the most bureaucratic state, at least more so than the UK. Alas, this was not the case in my experience.

Readers of this blog will know that I wanted to take my family for a two-week vacation in London, UK. However, our vacation plans shattered after hitting the highest red tape barrier I have seen in years - the visa application process. Below is a letter of complaint I sent to the embassy after the whole thing was over, if you're interested. I hope you will agree that the new visa process is far too bureaucratic and can be significantly improved without compromising national security or causing queues.

Letter begins:
===============

I would like to express my disappointment with the general procedure of applying for visas and with the level of service of your visa staff.

Please note that this complaint is not a simple disagreement with my visa refusal. However, I believe that the cumbersome procedures and in some cases, lack of consideration of submitted documentation by visa staff, have led to a different outcome than could have taken place otherwise. I urge you to take the time to read this letter, address the problems that were incurred with your staff and forward it to the authorities in charge of setting the rules for the whole process.

First of all, one of the reasons for refusing visa to [my sister] was quoted as "No evidence has been provided to show that your parents or your legal guardians have given their written consent for your travel to the UK". However, such consent (legalised according to the legislation of Moldova) was provided and it leaves us wondering how closely the visa officer studied the documents that had been submitted with the applications.

In addition, I spoke with a visa officer on the phone on Thursday, 28 May (at least I was under the impression that I was speaking with a visa officer), and in the course of our conversation I was told to provide a letter from the person with whom we would be staying in the UK. We agreed that I would provide such letter before the visa decision would be made. However, the decision was made nonetheless, with the absence of such letter quoted as one of the reasons.

Lack of interviews with applicants leaves the visa officer to make assumptions which may not be correct. As such, I provided as evidence of funds original deposit agreements with my bank, which show that I have over [sufficient amount] USD in savings, and that all these funds will be released before the intended departure date. This amount is more than enough to make the two-week trip but this information was disregarded. Why?

In addition, in the refusal letter, air fares were quoted as £500 per person for a roundtrip Moldova-UK, quoting http://www.aua.com. A visit to a local travel agent will reveal that there are cheaper options available. Besides, we intended to take a much cheaper Kiev-London flight that costs less than €250 for a roundtrip (a taxi ride Chisinau-Kiev is 2000 MDL, while a night at the airport hotel does not cost more than $200 for a whole family). This visa officer's assumption is absolutely groundless and could have been easily clarified in a personal interview. Nonetheless, we still have enough funds to take the expensive Chisinau-London flight, as was demonstrated by the deposit agreements that were disregarded.

The major disappointment was the policy of zero guidance, which creates much confusion and uncertainty. Applicants are not given any advice by the embassy staff and are instead referred to the WorldBridge Services website, which does not provide much guidance either, while in some cases gives incorrect advice. Specifically, we were advised that an infant does not need a separate passport if she is registered in a parent's passport; when applying, we were told otherwise. This clearly needs addressing.

The above examples lead me to believe that the whole visa application process has become far too bureaucratic and that most misunderstandings could be easily avoided through an interview. Moreover, at least some guidance regarding the application process would be of much help to applicants. I noticed that the most detailed instructions refer to the photograph rather than to supporting documents.

This red tape makes the UK Visa institution not much different from typical Moldovan post-soviet state institutions and, no offence, looks more like a way to extort money as applicants are deprived of the right to provide any explanations and can only submit another application, paying the full fee again, in the hope that this time they got it right (and they never know until they have a decision).
==================
Letter ends.

I would like to mention that I had been in the UK before (more than once) and that this time no interview was scheduled to clear up any questions the visa staff may have had (the phone conversation I had with someone clearly didn't count for some reason even though I answered many questions). A friend of mine from the UK tried calling the embassy during their opening hours but only got the answering machine and I had the same experience once too: the answering machine tells you the opening hours so it's nothing short of a paradox!

I managed to speak to a visa assistant after getting the refusal and she couldn't tell me why the parental consent for my sister was disregarded (I seriusly doubt that they have a way to revise their decisions even if it is their fault). Also, when asked why the deposit agreements were not accepted as proof of funds, she said that it didn't say anywhere that the money was for the vacation (doh!). Moreover, the embassy wants bank statement as proof of funds, so it is basically enough to show them that you had enough money at the end of last month on your current account. What rational person would keep such amounts in a current account that earns no interest? Besides, I can always deposit the money there for a few days but that won't mean the money is mine, whereas deposits are locked for long-term and in my view provide a better proof of liquidity. When I asked what is the best way to proceed next time (i.e. what documents to include), she told me that they were not authorised to provide visa applciation advice. An email reply from the embassy (I asked a few questions earlier) told me to refer to the Worldbridge Services website (https://www.visainfoservices.com/Pages/Welcome.aspx). That contractor answers your questions (but not always giving you the correct information) and for more information refers you to the embassy!

Five years ago we simply came with applications, had an interview and collected the visas in the afternoon. This time you can't even speak to the visa officer. You have no right of appeal and you cannot amend the application if anything is missing. But you can pay €78 per person and apply again. And application processing takes 5-15 working days! This sucks big time. The worst thing is that there is no feedback mechanism - you can't complain or appeal the decision, there is no real watchdog and this all looks more like scam rather than a decent human-friendly institution.

So I propose to give the Bureaucracy 2009 award to the UK.

:evil: [clap2.gif]


From: Vitalie Eremia
Location: Chisinau, Moldova The Moldovan Connection Blog

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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#8  PostPosted: 31 Oct 2009 15:53 
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You could have acknowledged that I gave you the link to that story! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#9  PostPosted: 31 Oct 2009 15:55 
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lesH wrote:
You could have acknowledged that I gave you the link to that story! ;)

Sorry Les :oops:

It did not really crossed my mind!

Thank you anyway for the link!

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 Post subject: Re: Britain's strict visa rules
Post Number:#10  PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 09:15 
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Fingerprint checks at the border
Entering the United Kingdom

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On 30 November 2009, the UK Border Agency introduced fingerprint checks at the border for passengers with biometric UK visas, entry clearances and identity cards for foreign nationals. These checks will be introduced incrementally at ports across the UK by March 2010.

The purpose of the checks is to verify that the individual entering the UK is the same person who applied for their visa, entry clearance or identity card. Using fingerprints enables us to do this with greater certainty.

On arrival in the UK, our trained officers will scan two fingerprints on an electronic fingerprint reader at border control. In most cases we will use the right hand thumb and first finger. These scans will then be checked against the fingerprints captured and stored as part of the application process for the visa, entry clearance or identity card.

The fingerprint checks should take no longer than previous processing times for holders of visas, entry clearances and identity cards. It may take additional time if there are difficulties scanning the fingerprints. There is no ink or mess involved in the process; passengers are simply required to place their fingers one at a time on the glass plate of the fingerprint reader.

Children aged six and over will need to provide their fingerprints for checks.

There are certain exemptions from the fingerprint check process (see below).

The fingerprint checks are an additional tool to verify identity; passengers will still be asked standard immigration-related questions when they arrive in the UK as normal. If the fingerprint check reveals any queries about the individual's identity, these matters may be resolved through an interview, but this will not routinely be required.

If a passenger refuses to provide their fingerprints for checking, they will be subject to further investigations. This may result in a delay to their journey while a decision on admission is made.

Passengers will have to provide their fingerprints each time they travel to the UK with a visa, entry clearance or identity card for foreign nationals. Fingerprints will be held for a maximum of two working days, after which they will be destroyed.

Fingerprint checks at the border operate within legislation already in place to conduct biometric checks. This legislation includes:

Schedule 2, paragraph 4(5) of the 1971 Immigration Act
the Immigration (Biometric Registration) Regulations 2008

There is no charge for fingerprint checks.

Exemptions

Passengers will not have to have their fingerprints checked at the border if they are exempt from immigration control under section 8 of the Immigration Act 1971 and have therefore qualified for an 'exempt' endorsement. These passengers, who will not have had their biometrics captured as part of the application process, are:

Serving government ministers of state (or their equivalents) recognised by the UK government and travelling to the UK on the official business of their government;
diplomats accredited to the UK; and diplomats transiting to or from a place where they are accredited.

Passengers who are not exempt from immigration control, but are not required to provide their biometric data, will also be exempt from fingerprint checks. These are:

Diplomats visiting the UK on the official business of their government; and
diplomatic couriers.

Other passengers who do not have to have their fingerprints checked are:
children aged under six;

Amputees with less than two digits, as these people's biometrics will not have been captured as part of the application process;

People with right of abode in the UK - anyone holding a certificate of entitlement is not subject to the entry clearance requirement, and their biometrics will not have been captured as part of the application process; and passengers who will hold visas issued before biometric visas were introduced - again, these people's biometrics will not have been captured as part of the application process.


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