back to article Family visa sponsors face ID, credit and CRB checks

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Stop the country...

    I wanna get off!

    This and the previous two articles (asda, and the Paedo-Isles) make me want to get the fuck out of here and go live somewhere a bit more sane. What the fucking fuckery has happened? You can't take a photo, talk to a child, god forbid you might take a photo of a child, must obey the law even if those who are tasked to uphold it don't... the list goes on and this rant is, *sigh* pointless. Time to dig out my Italian passport.

    Last one out turn off the lights.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry! Your family is perfectly safe (probably).

    The practice of taking hostages to guarantee the good behaviour (or, to put it bluntly, slavish obedience) of their relatives dates back well before the Romans. It's nice to see our rulers steadily ridding themselves of all this effete 19th and 20th century "civilisation" and reverting to the tried and tested practices of barbarian warlords. Doesn't it make you feel *proud*?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Officers Discretion

    "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."

    Discretion based on what? Measuring the albedo of the applicant?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Friendly Fascism? it just me, or does "new labour" (ex-socialist, party or the people) becoming about as socials as the national socialist workers party?

    Creating a climate of fear., cameras , surveillance, removal of personal liberties, restriction of movement at borders and internally?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    CRB checks? HRRrrrrrrhh!

    ...because CRB checks aren't a flimsy excuse to print money at all.

    I had been happily working in a school for 18 months before my CRB check ~finally~ cleared me to start work there. They weren't able to cope with the 'complete address history' that they explicity wanted (note to all recent graduates, just don't bother informing them of your term-time university address, their DB couldn't cope with that).

    About 1 month after that, I moved to a different school (still employed by the same County Council), but guess what, the new school had to pay for ~another~ CRB check to clear me to work for exactly the same County Council in exactly the same role.

    Running all these compulsory CRB checks must be a nice little earner.

  6. Ian Chard

    Don't listen to people! They're idiots!

    Liam Byrne: "I travelled around the UK listening to people"


    Liam Byrne: "OK"

    What the D. Mary Fluck do you expect if you go round the country talking to average, Daily-Mail-reading, I'm-a-celebrity-watching, scratchcard-rubbing, McDonalds-patronising people? Knee-jerk nutter-inspired policies that throw a 100kg sledgehammer of a solution at a non-existent peanut of a problem.

    Mine's the one that says "god bless the EU, I have my pick of countries to move to, then I can moan about their problems instead, grr nothing's ever done right" and goes on for another ten lines.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Not sure if this is still open, but people used to sign up to a conference as a business person, then skip off after entering the country. You get 6 months and a visa waiver usually, plus proof to show immigration such as spending £1,000 on a deposit.

    My friends company had North african applicants who wanted to learn about Just In Time stock maangement who would arrive early and never turn up.

  8. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Isn't collective punishment illegal?

    The closest analogy in existing law is when a suspect is bailed over for a later court appearance. If the bailee fails to answer the bail conditions, the person who put up the assurance isn't jailed they merely lose their money.

    So why are perfectly innocent people going to be criminalised if an immigrant does a runner?

    The repulsive Tony McNulty really is the lowest of the low in New Labour (and that's up against some pretty stiff competition); by building a career hard man image by picking on the weakest and most disadvantaged in society.

    The sooner he and his cronies are thrown out of power the better.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still doing EU to UK visas?

    Are they still doing EU to UK visas? Where family members of EU citizens with EU residence permits need a visa to travel to the UK????

    You know the one that violates 2004/38/EC, that the UK signed up to and then decided it wouldn't abide by that caused a stink in mainland EU and a lot of anti-british sentiment.

    I assume they still do (I no longer visit and the bloke I worked with, in the same position as me, his family emigrated out of the UK). But that would mean that they introduce these requirements for internal EU travel.

    At some point this spineless EU Commission has to actually take UK to court and enforce the directive.

  10. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Did I say Tony McNulty - I meant Liam Byrne

    But the same sentiment applies.

    Is it just me, or does Liam Byrne look like he'd get off on any opportunity to wear a black uniform with silver piping, jack boots and wire-frame glasses?

  11. Anton Ivanov
    Paris Hilton

    What a load of rubbish

    1. The 5000 are a joke. Current end-to-end prices for smuggling an illegal immigrant into the UK are 10000+ depending on the country of origin. So unless each case results in "assisting illegal immigration" prosecution this will actually be a perfect loophole for importing more as it is a smaller price than the snakeheads ask for at the moment. The price tag will have to go into the 25K-50K or so to have any effect.

    2. Most people who invite relatives are of foreign origin. The CRB is a total failure as far as foreigners and naturalised persons are concerned. Due to the UK government not being a signatory to Shengen or any other criminal data sharing arrangements there is no proper data on most of the foreigners. As a result the CRB will return a "clean" record on anybody except the very few people who have managed to get a pan-EU arrest order or an Interpol wanted list. In fact it will probably return clean even on that.

    As usually - a typical labour half-arsed underbaked halfmeasure that fails to deliver any tanglible benefit and serves only to provide appropriate tabloid headlines.

    Paris - as someone who would have come with a better set of measures as she probably has more brain than whoever wrote this proposal.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @mike richards

    "So why are perfectly innocent people going to be criminalised if an immigrant does a runner?"

    They won't be, so long as they don't first say 'they won't do a runner honest!' This only applies to sponsored visa applications. I don't actually find it that strange that if you vouch for someone, to such a degree, you are held responsible if they break the terms of their visa.

    Bail is a perfect analogy, it speeds up the whole process, but you have to bear some of the responsibility if it all goes wrong. If you don't wan't to be held responisble for someone breaking the terms of their visa, then don't sponser them. You could always wait the extra few weeks for the process to finish normally, but then that might show up that someone was likely to vanish.

  13. TeeCee Gold badge

    EU to UK?

    The UK ignoring a piece of EU legislation? Say it ain't so!

    If they make a habit of this sort of thing they may start to understand how the rest of Europe manages within the EU and the Daily Fail will have to look for a new scapegoat.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Still doing EU to UK visas?

    Please note that the EU directive does not apply to the UK in certain circumstances. Having a Schengen visa (which applies to the majority of the EU) does not automatically give you the right to enter the UK, neither does having a UK work permit or ILtR entitle you to visa-free transit to other EU countries.

    This is due to the fact that the UK opted out of certain Schengen treaty provisions, which would have meant that the UK would've had to apply the same strict (onerous more like) visa conditions that other countries (like Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and the like) to all visitors to the UK, including those from the Commonwealth (which includes much of Eastern and Southern Africa, Nigeria, the Caribbean, and other former colonies and overseas territories). In addition to that, the special relationship between Ireland and the UK where travel is concerned, added to the decision too.

    Considering that the Commonwealth was (and still is) larger than the EU, the UK remains opted out of the immigration-related Schengen treaty provisions. Many new EU countries (especially the newly joined ones) fell outside of the original Schengen agreement, which meant that they fell under the same restrictions that the UK has for work seekers (you need a work permit), but they made concessions in that they allow those EU countries who would technically fall outside the Schengen agreement clauses, would have easier entry on the basis that they are EU citizens and should have no restrictions.

    Laws that are not kept up to date with changes in treaties (such as the enlargement of the EU bloc) are a massive pain the ass, but at the same time, one can understand the UK government's reluctance to now force Commonwealth countries to face the same onerous hurdles that those countries would face when attempting to enter the rest of the EU.

    Considering that some of those restrictions now put in place for certain Commonwealth countries (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka amongst others) are if not more of a PITA than entering the EU, they might as well scrap it all and harmonise with the Schengen agreements.

  15. Anton Ivanov

    Re: Still doing EU to UK visas?

    They do.

    My inlaw needs to get one when travelling to the UK despite being a EU cittizen and visiting a British cittizen.

    And as far as UK complying to any EU or International law - sorry, I just rolled on the floor laughing for a while.

  16. Michael
    Black Helicopters


    It's not just the commonwealth... crown dependancies (channel islands &iom ) have even more cr*p attached as well ,(work permits, etc)

    Try getting residency in bermuda, if you don't believe me.

  17. Daniel Palmer

    Re: OH NOES!?! ITS 1984 OH NOES!!!

    Sounds like a good idea to me. Currently we give out 6 month visa's[1] to almost anyone that turns up on the door and send them on their way, and those people have the choice just to disappear. The problem is other parties (i.e. their sponsor) could also make them disappear and there's no way of finding out where they went. People that have things to hide shouldn't be vouching for other people to enter the country.

    As for ID cards for foreign visitors; It's only recently that you haven't had to carry a resident registration card in Spain if you intend to stay there for an extended period of time. Even with a tourist entry permit in Japan you need to register yourself as an alien at the local city hall after a certain period. It's very hard to track down people relatives if they get run over if they don't have any in that country,.. having some documentation of your existence in that country is a good idea (TM).

    1 - We say visas.. those are the things you apply for before you get here, and even though you have a visa in your passport is no guarantee that you'll be permitted to enter the country. Non-EU nationals from countries with visa exception agreements get 6 month entry permits or something stamped into their passports when they get here IIRC.

  18. Daniel Palmer

    @Anton Ivanov

    Surely if he carries a passport issued by a EU member he can enter the country the same as people from those countries that have visa exception agreements with us.

    Now if he carries an Non-EU passport and the country that issued his passport doesn't have an agreement with us (That's very very few countries), it's right he should have to apply for a visa. Unless you intend to keep the in-law locked in your shed for the duration of his stay what does it matter that he's visiting a British citizen? Maybe your British Citizen'ness confirms the in-law to be a jolly good chap and we should waiver the need for a visa regardless of the fact that country that issued their passport hasn't got an immigration agreement with us.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anton Ivanov Re: Still doing EU to UK visas?

    Anton, that is likely if your in-law is from a country that was not a signatory to the Schengen agreement, but is now a member of the EU. Because the new EU countries were generally not signatories to the Schengen agreement when it was instituted (some were still behind the Iron Curtain), they are NOT covered by the UK implementation of the Schengen agreement (with the opt-outs that the UK needed for Commonwealth et al).

    I believe that has been the same case in countries that acceded to the EU, but had other, less stringent visa requirements (if any) for their neighbours (Bulgaria I believe was one). When the deadline for accession came nearer, people from neighbouring countries had to suddenly apply to Bulgaria for their visas, causing much consternation as to why.

    As as quirky as it may be for you, and as much as it is annoying, Britain is somewhat eccentric when it comes to its relationship with its former empire. Either live with it, wait for it to change, or don't accept it and live elsewhere.

    It is definitely easier for EU citizens to get visas for the UK than it is for non-EU citizens to get entry to the EU (even with UK ILtR or UK work permit).

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Daniel Palmer

    Yeah but up until recently Spain was still a fascist dictatorship.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2004/38/EC has nothing to do with Schengen

    2004/38/EC, has nothing to do with Schengen. UK is not part of Schengen (well except for information exchange, all of the stick and none of the carrot).

    It was a directive to improve free movement within the EU. It explicitly made the EU residence permit a visa equivalent. UK signed up to it. It was to replace 1612/68, 68/360/EE, 73/148/EEC etc. and designed to cover all the case law.

    Then UK decided, erm, no, actually we'd like the benefit without doing our part. The tried to say that it didn't apply to them because they didn't sign up for the Schengen agreement. The act has nothing to do with the schengen agreement, there is no derogation given for non schengen states.

    The visa requirement comes from UK national law. This directive made possession of a valid residence card (the EU residence paper) the equivalent of a visa for family members of EU citizens.

    "Family members who are not nationals of a Member State shall

    only be required to have an entry visa in accordance with Regulation

    (EC) No 539/2001 or, where appropriate, with national law. For the

    purposes of this Directive, possession of the valid residence card

    referred to in Article 10 shall exempt such family members from the

    visa requirement."

    There is no opt out for countries that didn't sign up to Schengen. There is no basis for refusal of a visa to family members of EU citizens, so it was a stupid administrative hurdle to require it, this directive abolished that hurdle.

    They're playing a game here. UK Labour party was a major supporter of rapid expansion of EU into eastern Europe. They then had major immigration problems, too many too quickly. UK Labour wants to deflect attention to NON EU Immigrants with games like this. But non EU immigration numbers are tiny compared to EU numbers.

  22. Terry Blay

    Big Bro UK

    My motherland is turning into a Big Brother state, where more and more controls are placed on law abiding citizens whilst illegal people find it no harder to get around these controls now, than in the past.

    The government rules from the top down, often ignores the will of its electorate, and makes mistake after mistake after mistake.

    I left 3 months ago for a life in Spain. I look back with a sense of real pity, and sorrow. And happiness that I live in a country where political decisions and rules seem to follow common sense and logic.

    I feel sorry for all the poor bastards living in the UK who will find themselves living under a very expensive police state in the near future. I for one, feel like I escaped just in time.

    The system is a mess. Better to get out now before they make anal cavity searches compulsory on all flights.

    PS: (just to smirk some!)

    Spain - 504,780 km² and around 700 speed cameras

    UK - 209,331 km², and more than 3000 speed cameras

    If that doesn't make every driver in the country want to leave, what the hell would?

  23. Colin Millar

    @ Mike Richards

    Q. "So why are perfectly innocent people going to be criminalised if an immigrant does a runner?" Is it because I is black?

    A. Yes

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this going to make it easier to get a visa then?

    My wife's African and we've tried to get her brother over for a half-year English course but to no avail because he couldn't convince them that he'd go back. They don't let on how he might convince them either, which makes it sort of hard. (According to one English school: If he had a bank account with, say, £30,000 at home, that would likely help to convince them. I'm ROTFL -- that'd be like twice the average expected income for life in his country.)

    Now this proposal would be great in my view if it made it easier for them to believe that I have done my due diligence, i.e. that by inviting him and taking the risks I am showing that I am really quite sure he's going to go back and as a result they'd be more willing to issue the visa.

    But I suspect it's not going to work this way and all they want to do is reduce the number of people coming over. So if this stops some people from even inviting their relatives -- great. And for those who still invite, the same measures as before will be applied and that's it. Or am I just being cynic?

    Well anyway, need to get back to writing another invitation for the next visa application. We're not going to give up easily, that much is for sure.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No one is asking for this

    What the hell is this government doing.

    So, let's say we arrest these people, how much does it cost to jail them, and isn't the crime rather a minor one; the resentment against the UK is going to be huge and we will foot the bill.

    Is it tempting to tell the truth to economic immigrants who are thinking that the UK is some sort of place of milk and honey, the real truth. The UK are just masters of spin, is all a sodding illusion, the UK is possibly one of the worse places to live in the world.

    Crimes is rampant, food prices are extortionate, liberty is being crushed, free expression is forced into anonymity, you are more likely to catch something in a UK hospital than you ever are of being cured, overcrowding is epidemic, fuel prices are crucifying, gang culture is on the rise, and far right nationalism is gaining ground fast. It is quite a frightening place to be in. Certainly would not be top on my places to visits, unless perhaps you are into extreme holidays.

    That's always the problem when the far left get into power, they are like the far right but less honest, and people inevitably swing back to the right in the hope that will sort out the problem. What that does is increase the money you have, but at a cost of liberty again. You then have to hope that the right will allow a degree of corruption for the masses, and you head on into hedonism. After that period you tend to want liberty, and a liberal center government comes into power.

    The pound is set to fall soon, and fall quickly, at which point our ability to import will be severely hampered, and that also includes importing labour, who will do the calculation and find that they would make very little money working here, no one does anyway when you take into account the cost of living.

    Labour is nearly sending us into a third world economy, we are going to have to flip back to local production fast, just as the US have. But, we don't have space, so kiss goodbye to your golf courses, your greenbelt, your bowling greens, your tennis courts, stately homes, ruined castles, because we are going to be needing those places to build factories, to produce goods.

    And don't think those factories will employ many people, they will be robotic. <-- IT angle.

    If we all just voted liberal or center all the time, our economy would always be strong, and the laws would be relaxed.

    I don't want people who want to lead and cannot, I want reluctant leaders who know how to lead, and know when doing nothing is the best option.

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