Feeds

Family visa sponsors face ID, credit and CRB checks

Plus large fines and jail if grannie scarpers...

High performance access to file storage

People who sponsor visits to the UK by relatives from overseas under new visa rules will be required to undergo Criminal Records Bureau checks, and will be liable for penalties of up to £5,000 or even a prison sentence if the relative goes AWOL, immigration minister Liam Byrne announced this week. It will still be possible to visit the UK using a standard tourist visa, but those sponsored by a relative will receive preferential visa treatment, and in order to sponsor, the relative will need to be licensed.

According to the UK Borders Agency: "Sponsors will need to accept and sign up to a liability to a sanction as part of the process of sponsoring a relative to visit the UK. Before accepting a sponsor we will make thorough checks as to who they are, including financial, criminal record and immigration checks [Do we hear 'ID card'?]... and we will link the issue of sponsor licences with the roll-out of national identity cards [yes, we do] for British citizens and ID cards for foreign nationals."

That is, as ID cards for foreign nationals resident in the UK are intended to be introduced late this year, an ID card will be required by people in this category wishing to sponsor a relative. As ID cards for the general populace remain somewhere out in the middle distance, there can't immediately be such a requirement for UK citizens. But Byrne can hope, and there will be linkage - in the voluntary phase, the possession of an ID card is likely to expedite a CRB check, so we can expect one of the next soft targets for the boil-a-frog rollout to be UK citizens with family overseas.

Non-white ones? to some considerable extent. According to Office of National Statistics data (Travel Trends 2006), in 2006 somewhere in the region of 8 million people gave visiting family or friends as their reason for travelling to the UK. Of these, 5 million were from the EU, and around half of the remainder from the US, which would indicate anything up to 1.5 million might be eligible for sponsorship, more if a proportion of those declaring "holiday" as their primary purpose of visit are also visiting family.

In cases where the relative doesn't go home when they should, the sponsor will be liable for a civil penalty of up to £5,000, and could also be prosecuted for assisting unlawful immigration, "which may lead to an unlimited fine or even a prison sentence of up to 14 years."

The new rules are being introduced following a consultation which produced a massive response of 604, 55 per cent of these being individual members of the public. According to Byrne, "we didn't just [surely 'even'? - Ed] run an old-fashioned consultation. I travelled around the UK listening to people, and led my own delegation of community leaders and businessmen to India to review first hand some of the issues in one of our most important overseas markets."

One concession has been included in the new rules. Plans to reduce the maximum visa period from six months to three have been abandoned, although entry clearance officers will still have discretion to limit the visa to three months. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.