Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 13:04 UK

Visa plan for 'risky' visitors

Immigration officer
One of the risks posed is the possession of bogus passports

The government has warned 11 countries that their citizens will need visas to visit the UK unless they "significantly reduce" the risk they pose.

Listed are Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, Malaysia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Swaziland, and Trinidad and Tobago.

A Home Office report identifies bogus passports, criminal acts and terrorism as possible risks posed by visitors.

It says the new visa requirements could become law by early 2009.

The new countries on the visa list have a combined population of more than 300 million - nearly 5% of the world's population.

We need to decide how to widen the visa net. We cannot and will not shy away from going wider
Liam Byrne, immigration minister

If visas are imposed on them, 80% of the world's population will be subject to visa entry requirements in order to visit the UK.

Because Britain is a member of the EU, citizens of European countries do not need visas to visit the UK.

Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: "We need to decide how to widen the visa net.

"We cannot and will not shy away from going wider and will, whenever we think there is a risk to the UK."

'Evidence of change'

He said the government will now "work with" the countries over the next six months in an effort to reduce the risks.

"If they are able to show evidence of change then there will be no need to introduce a visa regime," said Mr Byrne.

The criteria for the Home Office's Visa Waiver Test included looking at passport security and integrity; the degree of co-operation over deportation or the removal of a country's nationals from the UK.

Levels of illegal working in the UK and other immigration abuses, levels of crime and the risk of a visitor committing a terrorist act were also considered.




RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific