About a week ahead of the United Kingdom’s general elections set to be held on December 12, the Conservative Party has pledged to introduce a scheme that would oblige nationals of the European Union Member Countries to obtain an online travel authorization in order to enter the UK, given that the Tories win the upcoming elections.
According to the Tories, the scheme would resemble the ones several other countries use as the Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA) which the United States operates since 2009, and it would strengthen the ability of the authorities to identify and block the entry of those who present a threat to the UK.
While announcing their plans, Home secretary Priti Patel said that the establishment of such a scheme would fulfill people’s wish to take control of the borders, for what they voted in 2016, hinting at the Brexit referendum.
“The consequence of EU law limiting our border capability is brought home to me every day. It is a sad fact that drugs and guns reach our streets from Europe, fueling violence and addiction. People traffickers don’t think twice about risking people’s lives for profit,” she said asserting that terrorists have been able to enter the UK by exploiting free movement.
She also reiterated that the Conservative party would introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system as previously announced.
“After Brexit, we will introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system and take steps to strengthen our border and improve the security of the UK,” she said.
The Tories have not, however, given any additional information on how this scheme would precisely work.
The proposal comes just about a year before the EU’s ETIAS comes into force, in January 1, 2021, as previously announced. The ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System, is a similar scheme to the one proposed by Patel & co.
Though it is still unclear how traveling for Britons will be arranged in a post-Brexit Europe, unless Britain negotiates some type of exemption with the EU, it will most likely fall under the ETIAS.
Third-country travelers will have to apply online for am ETIAS prior to their travel by giving personal and security-related information and also pay a fee of EUR 7. If they get the authorization, which is multiple-entry, they will be permitted to enter the EU for three years. After three years when the validity of the ETIAS expires, the traveler will have to reapply.
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