Joint Irish and British visas under discussion

01 Oct 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK visas could soon be amended as part of discussions between the Irish and British governments.

Both parties are looking to launch a joint visa programme to allow for free movement between the two jurisdictions without the need for two separate sets of papers, reports from The Irish Times have suggested. The changes would apply to short visas for tourists and other travellers from outside of the European Union, meaning that those coming to the country for business or pleasure would have one less hoop to jump through when planning their trip.

The move is expected to be welcomed by tourism and business boards who have long been calling for the British government to make it easier for people to come to Britain in order to encourage spending and business.

According to reports, the change could be formally agreed within the next week after the two parties began negotiations last week. The discussions took place at College Ireland Aviation Services (CIAS), where 35 cadet pilots from the airline Etihad have just been taken in for training.

The training contract alone is being welcomed as a sign of growing international development in Ireland, with meetings already underway to work on the “next stage” of the agreement with the Gulf airline, which will see CIAS provide staff and management programmes for Etihad by working in partnership with Trinity College Dublin and IT Blanchardstown.

Recent reports have criticised the British government's approach to UK visas, stating that it risks discouraging those looking to invest in Britain. A number of changes are being considered and implemented to tackle this perception including the news last month that Chancellor George Osborne plans to refund the cost of up to 25,000 visas for Chinese tourists in a bid to attract more Chinese visitors.

Osborne announced the plan at an economic summit in London attended by Ma Kai, Chinese vice premier, where he also announced deals between British and Chinese firms worth around £2.6 billion.