Persons who do not have a visa or immigration status and wish to travel to the United Kingdom may soon have to apply for electronic travel authorization (ETA), which would determine the eligibility of travelers for the UK in advance.
The UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed that the country is attempting to create a new system that will be similar to the United States’ digital visa system ESTA in order to register the number of persons entering and exiting the UK for the first time ever, VisaGuide.World reports.
According to an announcement of the UK’s Home Office, it is expected that there will be about 30 million applications processed through the new system every year.
However, such an initiative planned to be introduced at the country’s borders has not been welcomed by some critics. According to them, such an idea has been designed in order to deport asylum seekers back to their countries of origin in Europe, stressing that it’s incoherent and inhumane.
Still, Britain’s Home Secretary has a different opinion in this regard. She said that the new approach would make it easier to identify potential threats before they reach the border, adding that this scheme will give Britons confidence that the strongest controls are in place in order to keep them safe.
Based on a report published by the Guardian, the Home Office has stressed that it plans to make UK entry completely digital by 2025.
The ETA system comes after reports that estimates of migration data were significantly wrong. According to reports provided by the migration data, three million Europeans lived in the United Kingdom and would apply to settle in the country under the government’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). But, by the end of April, over 5.4 million applications for the scheme have been filed, and 4.9 million of them have been granted.
In the meantime, the government figures reveal an estimated 144.7 million travelers in the year to June 2019, taking into account returning UK residents. About 40 million were from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, while about 20 million were from other countries.
The European Union Settlement Scheme is created for all citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area as well those from Switzerland who wish to continue to live in the United Kingdom even though the country is no longer an EU Member State. EU citizens will be permitted to file an application for this scheme until June 30, 2021.
Earlier this week, Patel was filmed accompanying police officers as they arrested ringleaders of a people-smuggling group that used lorry drivers to move migrants in and out of Britain.
According to the British government, over 140 foreign criminals have been removed from the country in the past ten days, while the total number of criminals removed from the UK surpassed 700 so far this year.
However, authorities in the European Union countries have stressed that they will reject any bilateral agreement, the intention of which is to facilitate the deportation of the refugees from the United Kingdom’s territory.