St Lucians retain visa-free entry to UK
CASTRIES, St Lucia, Monday March 14, 2011 – The United Kingdom government has decided not to implement visa requirements for St Lucian nationals travelling there as tourists or family visitors for less than six months.
However, nationals wishing to live, work, marry or study in the United Kingdom will continue to require a visa to do so.
The decision, which follows a six-month UK Visa Test, was recently handed down to Prime Minister Stephenson King and the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Senator Guy Mayers by the British High Commissioner to Barbados and the OECS, Paul Brummell.
Prime Minister King said the decision indicates confidence by the governments of St Lucia and the UK in each other’s abilities to address concerns amicably.
“We have received and accepted with much delight the decision of the British government. As a responsible government we have given further commitment to the authorities in the UK that we will continue our dialogue and consultation in ensuring that what we have achieved to date will be maintained without question, without any blemish or without any form of interference one way or the other,” he said.
Minister Mayers urged St Lucians not to engage in any activity that would cause the UK government to have any concerns about people from this Caribbean island visiting that country.
The British High Commissioner said the St Lucia government has worked closely with authorities in the UK to address the various areas of concern relating to migration.
“I really would like to thank Prime Minister King, Senator Mayers and all organs within the government of St Lucia that we had to work with for excellent cooperation over the six-month period. We found that the discussions were very positive and St Lucian authorities were very receptive to our ideas; the existing immigration arrangements continue,” he said.
The Home Affairs and National Security Minister said both governments wanted to see continued progress in certain areas where mitigation actions were not completed.
He said those include the full recall of all handwritten passports by 2012, clearing backlog of issued birth certificates by the end of this month, the ratification of the United Nations Convention against corruption, and continued publicity to effectively promote legal migration to the UK and the consequences of non-compliance.
The British High Commission Office in Barbados will continue to monitor St Lucia`s progress regarding the immigrations issues.
Should the risks to the UK not reduce, or if they increase, authorities in the United Kingdom say they may have to reconsider the visa requirement.
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