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News 2008
News ->Immigration Minister starts community consultation in India

(1 February 2008)

Liam ByrneImmigration Minister Liam Byrne has gone to India to kick start a consultation on changes to Britain’s visa system. The consultation ‘Visitors – A Consultation Paper’ runs until 10 March. The changes are part of the biggest shake up to Britain’s border security and immigration system in 45 years. The trip has already been criticised by the HSMP Forum as "just a new tactic by the UK Government to gain the declining confidence of the Indian population". The forum claims that the changes to the HSMP have left approximately 30,000 Indians migrants and their families in the lurch.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “I’m clear our visit visa system is out of date. For many legitimate visitors – especially those who want to see loved-ones, it’s too hard to get back together. Already people are flagging key issues – like reserving bonds for borderline cases only and keeping the time limit for family visas at six months.

“I want Britain’s different communities to help me design a system that is slicker and more secure. We’ve never taken this kind of approach to listening on such a set of changes but I think it’s the best way to get the answers right”.

Key questions include:

  • Do you think the current maximum leave for tourist visitors should be reduced?
  • Do you think a separate category for those wishing to visit family in the UK should be created?
  • Do you think a sponsor should face a penalty if their family member fails to comply with the conditions of their visa?
  • Do you think that the current appeal rights for family visitors should be revised?

A cross party cross faith delegation will accompany the Minister to undertake field research abroad in India. The party will tour a visa application centre, meet with representatives from the Indian government and police, the International Punjabi Society, and multinational companies.

The delegation includes:

  • Liam Byrne MP (Immigration Minister)
  • Dr Rami Ranger MBE (Chairman Indo British Friendship Society);
  • Cllr Pritpal Singh (British Asian Conservative Link);
  • Mr. Gurpal Gill (Chairman British Multicultural Forum); and
  • Parmajit Singh Gill (Former MP now Leicester Liberal Councillor).

Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of HSMP Forum said "we urge the Immigration Minister to take out time from his business trips and look into the burning issue of the HSMP Changes which has devastated lives of thousands of Indians and other Non - European Economic Area Nationals."

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