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UK revokes visa-free travel for 5 countries, including Namibia; reasons

United Kingdom announced this week it is revoking with immediate effect, visa-free travel arrangements for a number of nations worldwide, including a southwest African country of Namibia, citing abuse of the migration system, notably increased asylum fraud by individuals looking to work 'illegally' in the UK, as well as granting of citizenship to high risk individuals.

The United Kingdom has issued a press statement stating it has revoked, with immediate effect, visa-free travel privileges for five countries; a Latin American state, Southeast Asian nation, eastern Caribbean island, Pacific island nation and a southwest African country.

In a statement released Wednesday, July 19, Suella Braverman, the UK’s Secretary of State for the Home Department Conservative said the Kingdom has imposed visa requirements for nationals of several countries when entering the UK.

“We are today imposing a visa requirement on all visitors from Dominica, Honduras, Namibia, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu. Nationals of these countries will also be required to obtain a Direct Airside Transit Visa if they intend to transit via the UK having booked travel to another country,” reads the statement in part.

Major security violations were cited for each of the blacklisted countries, with the investigation showing clear and evident abuse of the scheme by Dominica and Vanuatu nationals, “including the granting of citizenship to individuals known to pose a risk to the UK,” the Kingdom further said.

As for Honduras and Namibia, there has been a sustained and significant increase in the number of UK asylum applications being made by these nationals, it said. The nationals from the two countries are said to have abused the provision to visit the UK for a limited period as non-visa nationals in order to claim asylum.

Given this findings, Namibian and Honduran nationals are said to rank first among non-visa nationals seeking asylum. The UK claims these high numbers are unsustainable, contributing significantly to operational pressures which have resulted in frontline resource being diverted from other operational priorities.

“Lastly, there has been a sustained increase in the number of Timorese nationals arriving at the UK border as non-genuine visitors, often with the intention to fraudulently claim EU Settlement Scheme status as dependants or to work illegally in the UK”, the statement concludes.

The announcement comes a month after Canada opened up visa-free entry arrangements for passport holders of 13 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Costa Rica, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles
Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay), while the United Kingdom is tightening the rules for visitors who enjoy visa-free travel arrangements.

An essential ingredient for reopening the world as more countries forge ahead with sustainable post-Covid strategies for tourism recovery, (among them Gauteng, South Africa), a visa-free agreement is a symbol of trust between participating countries. As such, numerous countries around the world enjoy visa-free travel arrangements with the UK primarily to encourage good trade and tourism relations with one another.

The UK generally permits stays of six months at a time to passport holders of countries that enjoy visa-free entry regimes for either business or leisure travel and tourism purposes.

However, arrangements are in place to alert travelers affected by the changes in their countries, with a four-week, visa-free transition period allowed for those who hold confirmed bookings to the UK made on or before July 19 “where arrival in the UK is no later than 16 August 2023”.

While South African passport holders enjoy visa-free access to 102 destinations worldwide except for the United Kingdom among others, when applying for a UK Visa, their passports must be valid for at least 6 months after departure from SA.

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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