Visitor Visa Imposed on Jamaicans
Byline: Caroline Gammell
All Jamaican nationals entering Britain will have to apply for visitor visas in order to enter the country, the Home Office announced yesterday.
From midnight tonight, no Jamaican will be allowed through immigration without the necessary papers.
The Home Office touted the move as a way of reducing queues at airports as well as reducing the number of people who abscond while on temporary visas.
According to Home Office figures, between January and June 2002, 150 Jamaicans absconded each month while on such visas.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said the visas would also cut down on the number of Jamaicans who are refused entrance upon arrival in Britain.
In the run-up to Christmas last year, 20 per cent of all passengers refused entrance to the UK were Jamaican.
The HO spokeswoman did concede that the new policy would aid the Government's battle against the smuggling of drugs from the island. She said: 'This policy has been introduced for immigration reasons, but obviously we are in very close cooperation with the government in Jamaica which includes the fight against drugs.
'It is reasonable to expect that this might make it more difficult for those people involved in criminal activity to get access to Britain.'
Making the announcement, Home Secretary David Blunkett said: 'For some years the number of Jamaican passengers being refused entry on arrival in the UK has been increasing - causing frustration and delays to other passengers of more than two hours. …