New rules on criminal checks are being introduced for people applying for UK visas to set up a business or invest in Britain.
They and members of their family travelling with them will be asked for proof of criminal checks in every country they have lived in during the last decade. The regulations, which come into force in September, are the start of a more thorough checking process that the Government is aiming to eventually extend to most other visa routes into the UK.
Tier 1 visa applicants, who have at least £2 million to invest in the UK or who want to start a business, will be the first to take part in the new process. People unable to supply the police record checks required will automatically be rejected by the authorities, as will those who have committed serious offences. Those with minor offences on their records that were committed some time ago are unlikely to be rejected.
The system is expected to be used for most other UK visa application routes from 2016/17, apart from those applying for short term visas.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said: “Since 2010, checks on foreign nationals going through the UK criminal justice system have increased by more than 1,000 per cent, helping ensure more foreign criminals are taken off our streets and making our communities safer.
“But we want to go further still by preventing these people getting into the country in the first place. Mandatory police certificates will serve as an additional tool to help us achieve this.”
The new checks are being introduced because in many cases, foreign criminals cannot be deported because of human rights legislation. More than 600 appeals against deportation were successful in the courts last year.