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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Arena Immigration Tightening the borders The UK is introducing an additional hurdle for visa applicants – the requirement for proof of criminal record checks in other countries the applicant has lived in. But this extra bureaucracy will cause headaches, even for those who have led a blameless life The UK has seen unprecedented immigration over the last decade, largely due to the EU’s open border policy, which allows citizens of member states to work in any other EU country. Inevitably, a few new arrivals have found themselves on the wrong side of the law – primarily due to traffic offences and other low-level wrongdoing – but a few high-profile crimes have caught the public attention and led the government to try to prevent those with serious criminal records from settling in the country. Ironically, however, the new visa restrictions will not apply to EU citizens, despite public outcry in the UK when a 14-year-old girl was murdered in 2014 by a Latvian immigrant who had served time in jail in his home country for killing his wife. James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, says: “Foreign criminals have no place in the United Kingdom and this scheme will help keep them out. Since 2010, checks on foreign nationals going through the UK criminal justice system have increased by more than 1,000 per cent, helping ensure more foreign criminals are taken off our streets and making our communities safer. But we want to go further still by preventing these people getting into the country in the first place. Mandatory police certificates will serve as an additional tool to help us achieve this.” The new requirement affects all applicants applying for entry clearance to the UK, who must provide an overseas criminal record certificate from any country where they have lived continuously for 12 months or more since the age of 18 in the ten years prior to submitting their applications. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) can refuse an application when an applicant has failed to provide a valid criminal record certificate from the relevant authority. The government began introducing this requirement in stages, initially for Tier 1 (investor) and Tier 1 (entrepreneur) applications (and their dependants aged 18 and over) from 1 September. It is anticipated that this will be rolled out to all categories, including those transferring to their employers’ UK office, in 2016. This will undoubtedly have a significant impact on business, which often requires employees to transfer at short notice and on an urgent basis. Taking the USA as an example, applicants applying for a UK visa who have lived stateside for at least 12 months will be required to obtain a Criminal Record History/FBI Identification Record. The requirements are onerous – the application must be submitted to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division by the applicant only (third-party representatives and prospective employers cannot apply on their behalf). As part of the process, the applicant will be required to provide an original fingerprint card, which they must first obtain from a law enforcement agency or private fingerprint agency prior to submission of the application. This is in addition to providing fingerprints, which is already a requirement during the entry clearance application process. Jennifer Stevens © Arthimedes / Shutterstock.com four 42 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2015 global


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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