People living in Commonwealth countries are being warned that stories circulating on social media that the UK is now open to visitors without a visa are a hoax.
Statements to that effect have now been issued in Fiji and the Philippines following the appearance of stories in those countries that UK Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Boris Johnson had agreed to the move after a series of meetings.
British High Commissioner to Fiji, Roderick Drummond, said that no changes have been made to the current visa system for people wishing to travel to Britain.
He said: “I hope that it has not misled anyone because the visa requirements remain the same. The article said those travelling to the UK would be allowed visa-free travel, but this is not true.”
A similar statement was issued by the UK Embassy in Manila in response to questions about the stories.
However, Mr Drummond said efforts have been made to simplify the visa system for Fijians who want to travel to the UK, to provide one set of UK visas for all types of visits.
He said: “We are looking at ways where we can improve that service further and in the next year or two we will find ways of making that faster and more reliable because we want more people to travel to the UK and indeed more people are now travelling to the UK.”
The Commonwealth false visa-free travel story has begun circulating since the UK voted to leave the EU in June. EU nationals still enjoy visa-free travel to the UK at the moment as Britain has not yet begun the formal process to separate itself from the European super state. It’s unlikely that visa-free Commonwealth travel will be introduced after Brexit takes place as the Government remains keen to reduce net migration to the UK.