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UK Immigration Update - 15 August, 2012

by Dominic 15/08/2012 10:44:00
Dog the Bounty Hunter denied UK visa

Dog the Bounty Hunter has had his UK visa application rejected due to his involvement in a 1976 murder...read more.

UK visa changes mulled to capitalise on Olympic success

The Government is reportedly considering changes to UK visa policy in order to make it easier for foreign tourists to visit after the success of the Olympic Games...read more.

UK immigration staff exceeded expectations during Olympic rush

UK immigration figures show passport and border control staff outperformed all targets during the Olympic Games...read more.

UK visa changes to lure Chinese tourists

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said new UK visa offices and staff will be set up in China as well as a Chinese-language website in order to triple the number of Chinese tourists visiting Britain...read more.




Dog the Bounty Hunter denied UK visa

Dog the Bounty Hunter will not
be appearing on the new series
of Celebrity Big Brother.

Dog the Bounty Hunter has had his UK visa application rejected due to his involvement in a 1976 murder.

Duane 'Dog' Chapman, who made his name as the star of the Hawaii-set TV show Dog the Bounty Hunter, has been rejected for a UK visa due to his part in a 1976 murder.

Mr Chapman was expected to appear on the latest version of Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother but has had to cancel after the UK Border Agency failed to approve his application.

Mr Chapman claims he has since renounced his life of crime and often tells his bounties to do the same and 'go with Jesus' when he apprehends them but his own past has come back to bite him.

In 1976 Jerry Oliver was gunned down in Texas by one of Mr Chapman's associates who had gone to purchase drugs from him; Mr Chapman himself was waiting in a car outside at the time but was convicted of first degree murder nonetheless and sentenced to five years in prison.

Mr Chapman, who served 18 months of his sentence, has been no stranger to controversy; in 2007 a private phone conversation between the Dog and his son, Tucker, was released. In the tape, Mr Chapman was heard using several racial slurs and chastised his son for dating an African American girl.

However, Mr Chapman has taken the news stoically, expressing his regret he would not be able to appear on the show and saying he hoped the 'red tape' could be resolved.

"I'd like to see your country and I have a lot of fans there and I'd like to meet them," Mr Chapman said.

"I have always wanted to come here."

Mr Chapman's wife Beth, who also appears on the show, expressed a little more frustration and pointed out her husband's charitable work as cause for approving his application.

"It's just incredible that something that he did 33 years ago is just haunting him," said Mrs Chapman.

"It prevents him making a living. Our society is so unforgiving it seems, no matter how many good things we do."

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UK visa changes mulled to capitalise on Olympic success

The success of the Olympics
has led to increased in interest
in visiting the UK.

The Government is reportedly considering changes to UK visa policy in order to make it easier for foreign tourists to visit after the success of the Olympic Games.

Previous reports have cited complicated UK visa application processes as a deterrent to more foreign tourists visiting Britain. While studies have shown that many foreign tourists would prefer to visit the UK, large numbers choose to visit France, Germany or Italy instead on a Schengen visa.

A UK visa currently allows non-EU tourists to visit Britain and Ireland but for a similar price, a Schengen visa allows a holder to visit a total 26 European countries. The Schengen visa application is also much shorter and multilingual than the English and Welsh UK visa application.

With the Chinese economy currently producing vast numbers of first time international travellers, most Western countries are eager to attract the tourists who have been shown to spend more on average on a typical holiday than any other nationality.

However, six times as many Chinese tourists visit France compared to Britain, nine times as many to Germany, many blame this on tourist visa processes.

Tourist bodies have called in the past for simpler visa applications and, with the country currently in the spotlight thanks to the unexpected success of the 2012 Olympic Games, the Government is considering loosening visa restrictions in order to capitalise on this.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to discuss the issue during a speech at the Tate Modern on Tuesday; policy aspects reportedly up for debate include translating the visa application form, expedited application processes and allowing visa applications to be filed at other European countries' application centres around the world.

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UK immigration staff exceeded expectations during Olympic rush

Waiting times at the UK borders
during the Games exceeded
all targets..

UK immigration figures show passport and border control staff outperformed all targets during the Olympic Games.

Significant and widespread scepticism regarding the UK immigration system's ability to cope with increased demand was rife prior to the Games due to reports of protracted queuing times, understaffed passport desks and threats of strikes.

However, contingency plans put in place to man extra desks and open up priority lanes have paid off as despite Heathrow Airport processing record levels of passengers on several days of the Games, queuing time targets for both European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EEA passengers were surpassed.

Immigration Minister Damian Green had previously said non-EEA passengers should have to wait no longer than 45 minutes and EEA passengers less than half that time. However, reports earlier this summer claimed people were waiting in excess of three hours with lines stretching over half a mile in immigration halls.

Mr Green paid tribute to the border staff for ensuring that similar situations were avoided.

"Our staff and volunteers have shown fantastic dedication and commitment during what has been an extremely busy period," said the minister.

"These figures are proof that our detailed planning for the Olympics, combined with wider action to cut queuing times and keep the border secure, have paid dividends."

BAA chief Colin Matthews echoed Mr Green's praise:

"We are proud to have played our part in giving the very best welcome to London 2012 to athletes and visitors alike. Seven years of hard work and planning, the warmth and enthusiasm of more than a thousand volunteers and additional Border Force staff produced our strongest ever passenger satisfaction scores."
 

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UK visa changes to lure Chinese tourists

Chinese tourists are worth
hundreds of millions to
the British economy.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said new UK visa offices and staff will be set up in China as well as a Chinese-language website in order to triple the number of Chinese tourists visiting Britain.

Chinese tourists have been shown to spend more than any other nationality on holiday but tough UK visa requirements mean Britain welcomes significantly less than its European neighbours.

In order to combat that and capitalise on the momentum of the London Olympics, Mr Hunt said 150 additional visa officers will be employed during peak months as well as 72 agents for tourist groups.

"We'll be looking at improvements to the visa system and work with airlines to improve the number of flight connections to China," said the culture secretary.

The UK visa application is currently limited in its language options but Mr Hunt said a Chinese language website with online application capability will go some way to help potential visitors overcome the language barrier.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said the goal was to increase Chinese tourists from current levels of 150,000 to almost half a million, providing an extra £500 million in spending creating over 10,000 jobs.

"China is one of the UK's priority markets for tourism and business and we are committed to providing an ever improving service to support this," said Mr Green.

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the UK Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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