The UK government has announced new border control and visa measures to promote an open and competitive UK after Brexit takes place – whenever that may be.
While the UK economy has enjoyed continued growth, with wages increasing and unemployment at historic lows the Chancellor announced plans to increase the UK’s attractiveness to international visitors at his Spring Statement.
At the Spring Statement it was announced that from June 2019, citizens of the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea will be permitted to use e-gates at UK airports and at Eurostar terminals. This move is expected to significantly reduce queues and improve the flow of passengers and the overall experience at the UK border.
Another move that will be welcomed by tourists is the abolishment of landing cards in June 2019. This will reduce red tape for travellers and speed up the processing of passengers on arrival in the UK.
Ryan Rennison of UK immigration agency, Move Up, welcomed these changes and believes this move will only improve South Africans’ travel experience to the UK.
“Heathrow airport is notorious for its lengthy border queues due to the sheer volumes of international travellers and the UK landing card requirements – these changes will significantly shorten weary travellers’ time spent entering the region, which is good news for all foreign visitors to the UK.”
The Chancellor made a third announcement that research institutes and innovating businesses will benefit from an exemption for PhD-level occupations from the cap on high-skilled visas from this autumn – South African springtime.
Overseas research activity will also count as residence in the UK for the purpose of applying for settlement, meaning researchers will no longer be unfairly penalised for time spent overseas conducting vital fieldwork.
“Even though these changes only affect the most highly skilled foreign workers, South African academics looking to further their careers in the well funded, highly visible and globally influential environment that UK universities and research facilities offer, now have even more opportunities to relocate overseas,” said Rennison.