Skip to main content

British-Irish Visa Scheme (Indian and Chinese Citizens)

Volume 587: debated on Thursday 30 October 2014

I am today making a ministerial authorisation under schedule 3, part 4, paragraph 17 (4)(a) of the Equality Act 2010. This authorisation may be cited as the Equality (British-Irish Visa Scheme––Indian and Chinese Citizens) authorisation.

The authorisation will allow Chinese and Indian citizens to transit through the UK en route to the Republic of Ireland under the transit without visa concession (TWOV). To qualify, individuals must meet the criteria for the TWOV and hold an Irish short-stay visa or subsequent stamp conferring leave in Ireland endorsed with the BIVS. No additional requirements are being imposed on these individuals, other than those already required of them as visa nationals for the purposes of entry clearance to travel to the UK.

The UK and Irish Governments are working in close co-operation to protect the security of the external border of the common travel area. Joint work is under way to ensure our checks are effective at preventing individuals who intend either country harm from entering, while preserving the right of free movement for those who are lawfully present.

The UK will recognize certain Irish visas under the British-Irish visa scheme. It is therefore no longer necessary to impose a transit visa requirement on Chinese and Indian citizens who have been issued a visa under this scheme.

The British-Irish visa scheme is part of this joint UK-Ireland work, allowing eligible visitors to travel to the UK and the Republic of Ireland on a single visa. Subsequent roll-out of the scheme to other nationalities is envisaged but is subject to the outcome of an evaluation process of the first phase.

The authorisation will facilitate tourism to the Republic of Ireland and the UK by removing the requirement for Indian and Chinese citizens, eligible for the British-Irish visa scheme and subject to the enhanced Irish visa regime, to obtain transit visas to travel to the Republic of Ireland through the UK.

I therefore consider the ministerial authorisation to be reasonable, rational, proportionate and necessary for maintaining the integrity of the immigration system.

The authorisation shall come into operation on 13 October 2014 and remain in force until 1 December 2014.

I am placing a copy of the authorisation in the Library of the House.