In response to concerns regarding the Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI) of Dominica and Vanuatu, the United Kingdom (UK) has announced a change in its immigration policy, now requiring nationals from Dominica to apply for a visa before traveling. The British Home Office, citing abuse and potential risks posed by individuals granted citizenship through the CBI scheme, stated that this decision was made after careful consideration. Effective immediately from July 19, the new visa regime aims to enhance migration and border security.
“Careful consideration of Dominica’s and Vanuatu’s operation of a citizenship by investment scheme has shown clear and evident abuse of the scheme, including the granting of citizenship to individuals known to pose a risk to the UK,” Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, said in a statement to the British parliament.
The new visa regime takes effect today, July 19.
“We are today imposing a visa requirement on all visitors from Dominica, Honduras, Namibia, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu.”
Braverman said, “Nationals of these countries will also be required to obtain a Direct Airside Transit Visa if they intend to transit via the UK having booked travel to another country.”
She said arrangements are being made so that travellers from Dominica, and other countries affected, can apply for UK visas.
“We are also publicising the changes so travellers are aware and can plan accordingly,” she said.
“There will be a four-week, visa-free transition period for those who hold confirmed bookings to the UK made on or before 1500 BST 19 July 2023 where arrival in the UK is no later than 16 August 2023. We have arrangements in hand to provide visas for diplomats from these countries currently working at the embassy in London.”
She made it clear the new visa regime is not a sign of poor relations between the UK and the affected countries.
“The decision to impose these visa requirements has been taken solely for migration and border security reasons and is not a sign of poor relations with these countries,” Braverman said.
“Any decision to change a visa regime is not taken lightly and we keep our border and immigration system under regular review to ensure it continues to work in the UK national interest.”
She said the regime was imposed on Honduras and Namibia because of “a sustained and significant increase in the number of UK asylum applications being made by these nationals.”
“As such, Namibians and Hondurans rank first amongst non-visa nationals for asylum claims,” the Home Secretary said.
“These high numbers are unsustainable, contributing significantly to operational pressures which have resulted in frontline resource being diverted from other operational priorities.”