It was reported in the UK’s Daily Telegraph on 18th July that migrants applying for a visa to set up a business or invest in the UK will be required to show proof of police checks for every country they have lived in during the previous 10 years.
Immigrants will be forced to prove they have had police background checks or be banned from entering the UK, under plans for a sweeping crackdown on foreign criminals.
From September, anyone applying for a visa to set up a business or invest in the UK will be required to show proof of criminal records checks for every country they have lived in during the previous 10 years.
Family members travelling with them will also have to show the same evidence. Anyone found to have lied about their criminal records will be banned from Britain for 10 years.
Ministers want to extend the tougher rules to other visa routes next year, once the first “trial” phase of the scheme has been evaluated.
The crackdown follows concerns over rising immigration levels and the government’s inability to deport hundreds of foreign criminals each year, often on “human rights” grounds.
Latest figures showed that “net migration” – the difference between migrants arriving and people leaving the UK – stood at 318,000, higher than when David Cameron Prime Minister and far above his target to tens of thousands.
James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister, said: “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 initial phase of the scheme will apply to “Tier 1” visa applicants who are seeking entry as investors or entrepreneurs, and their dependants. These are migrants from outside Europe who want to set up a business, in the case of entrepreneurs, or to invest at least £2 million in the UK, in the case of those using the investor route.
Anyone unable to provide proof of criminal records checks for the past decade will be refused a visa. Records for minor offences, committed a long time ago, will not automatically lead to a visa application being rejected.
However, migrants will be banned for more serious crimes that resulted in lengthy custodial sentences.
The initiative is likely to be extended to other visa routes in 2016/17 but will not be introduced for short-term visas as this would be a “disproportionate requirement” for millions of visitors to the UK.
Last year, Home Office data showed that 602 appeals against deportations for foreign offenders were successful at immigration courts in 2012-13. These cases included 324 criminals who won the right to stay in Britain under the controversial “right to private and family life” set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.