Joint visa scheme for Ireland and the UK could be expanded

by Ray Clancy on November 6, 2014

The authorisation to allow Chinese and Indian citizens to transit through the UK on route to the Republic of Ireland under the Transit Without Visa Concession (TWOV) has been ratified in the UK parliament.

UK Minister of State for Immigration and Security James Brokenshire has also announced that this first phase of the scheme will be monitored and could be expanded to other nationalities.

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If successful, the plan could be expanded to other nationalities

He said that to qualify, individuals must meet the criteria for the TWOV and hold an Irish short stay visa or subsequent stamp conferring leave in Ireland endorsed with the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS).

‘No additional requirements are being imposed on these individuals, other than those already required of them as visa nationals for the purposes of entry clearance to travel to the UK,’ he said.

‘The UK and Irish Governments are working in close cooperation to protect the security of the external border of the Common Travel Area. Joint work is underway to ensure our checks are effective at preventing individuals who intend either country harm from entering, while preserving the right of free movement for those who are lawfully present,’ he added.

Under the scheme the UK will recognise certain Irish visas so it will no longer necessary to impose a transit visa requirement on Chinese and Indian citizens who have been issued a visa under this scheme.

The BIVS is part of a joint UK-Ireland agreement allowing eligible visitors to travel to the UK and the Republic of Ireland on a single visa. Subsequent rollout of the scheme to other nationalities is envisaged but is subject to the outcome of an evaluation process of this first phase.

‘The authorisation will facilitate tourism to the Republic of Ireland and the UK by removing the requirement for Indian and Chinese citizens eligible for the British-Irish Visa Scheme and subject to the enhanced Irish visa regime, to obtain transit visas to travel to the Republic of Ireland through the UK,’ Brokenshire explained.

‘I therefore consider the ministerial authorisation to be reasonable, rational, proportionate and necessary for maintaining the integrity of the immigration system. The authorisation shall come into operation on 13 October 2014 and remain in force until 01 December 2014,’ he added.

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