Stricter checks on EU nationals post Brexit

On 2 December 2019, it was reported that the Tories plan to introduce a new electronic ESTA- style visa for EU nationals coming to the UK post Brexit. This will likely be very similar to the one which British citizens have to complete in order to travel to the US.

The Home Secretary, Ms Priti Patel mentioned that the new legislation will give border control more powers to stop criminals at the border and beef up (or at least appears to beef up) UK immigration. Under the current immigration system, EU citizens are able to use their European identity cards to enter the UK. However, the Home Office is limited in its ability to check/refuse entry to EU citizens. The new proposal will require EU visitors to provide their passports rather than ID cards, and apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) prior to entering the UK. The ETA system will allow frequent return visits within a certain time period, which will make it easier to screen visitors.

Ms Priti Patel stated that: “My powers as Home Secretary to deny entry to EU citizens who have committed serious crimes are severely limited in scope. Like me, the British public have had enough of our inability to control who and what comes into our country. We are going to end this farce and introduce automated and accurate entrance and exit checks with all visitors required to have biometric passports. We will know how many people are in the country and who is overstaying their visa. We will be able to count in and count out.”

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