Priti unveils UK digital visa

It will be required of all non-British or Irish citizens without a visa or immigration status who come to the UK…reports Asian Lite News.

Home Secretary Priti Patel on Monday said new US-style electronic border permits will give ministers a clearer idea of who is in the country.

A planned Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) would allow officials to “count people in and count people out”, the home secretary said, according to BBC.

In an online speech, Patel said the electronic permits would create a “fully digital” and more secure UK border.

It will be required of all non-British or Irish citizens without a visa or immigration status who come to the UK.

The Labour Party has warned of “serious questions” over delivering the system.

“The home secretary talks about a broken asylum system but it’s the Conservatives who have been in power for 11 years and are responsible for that,” BBC quoted Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds as saying.

He added that the idea of e-borders “has been around for a number of years,” whilst the loss of data from police databases in January meant there are “serious questions about the home secretary delivering this digital system.”

The government says the ETA scheme will be fully in place by the end of 2024, with up to 30 million applications expected to be processed each year.

At the event hosted by the Bright Blue and British Future think-tanks, Patel said the ETA would deliver “greater accuracy” on arrival and exit numbers.

“We will have a far clearer picture of who is here, and whether they should be – and we will act when they are not,” she was quoted as saying..

The new electronic permits, she added, would also “make it easier to identify potential new threats before they reach the border”.

Since Britain completed its exit from the European Union at the end of last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been keen to set out a new independent vision on immigration. 

“Our new fully digital border will provide the ability to count people in and out of the country, giving us control over who comes to the UK,” Patel was quoted as saying in the ‘Observer’.

Travellers in the arrivals hall at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, south China

“Our new approach will make it easier to identify potential threats before they reach the border. The British people will have confidence that the strongest controls are in place to keep them safe,” she said.

The Home Office hopes to make entry to Britain fully digital by the end of 2025.

Digitising the border will mean officials “can now count who is coming in and out of the country and whether they have permission to be here,” said her Home Office department.

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