IN THIS Olympic year there will be many visitors arriving in the UK from all over the world. Security will be an enormous part of the responsibility of hosting the Olympic Games, providing a safe environment for athletes and spectators.
From April onwards, part of that network will be the advance checks on every passenger list on flights from outside the European Economic Area. This will give 100 per cent coverage and will mean that all non-EEA passengers arriving will have been checked at least once before they have even arrived in the UK. Combined with the strict visa regime, many will have had two sets of checks.
Each month, approximately one thousand people who are not eligible for entry to the UK are stopped before they can even get on board an aeroplane.
This action is all part of the work to bring immigration back under control and to bring reforms to each of the main routes of entry into the UK.
There has now been a permanent cap on non-European Union work migrants for a year. During those 12 months, the limit has not been reached in any month since the cap came into effect. The number of migrants is falling while the necessary skilled workers can still come into the UK.
The automatic link between coming to the UK to work and staying here permanently has been cut. Now, skilled temporary workers who want to apply for settlement have to be earning £35,000 per annum – or the going rate for their job, whichever is the higher.
The largest route of entry was the student visa system, which has been reformed. There is a new accreditation system for colleges. New rules apply on the standard of English required by students, with new restrictions on students working and bringing dependants.
All these changes will help keep our country secure and ensure a warm welcome for all our visitors for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.