From 1st September 2015, all those applying for a visa under the Tier 1 Investor and Entrepreneur route will be required to provide overseas criminal record certificate for the previous 10 years from every country (excluding the UK) they have lived in for 12 months or more with their application. Original certificate must be provided and if it is not in English, it must be accompanied by a certified translation.
Adult dependants, aged 18 or more (effectively partners or spouses) will also be required to provide overseas criminal record certificate for the previous 10 years to prove that they have no criminal convictions in any overseas countries where they have lived for 12 months or more.
Failure to provide a criminal record certificate without an acceptable explanation will result in mandatory refusal of the application under the general grounds for refusal.
Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire was quoted by the Mail as saying:
“’Foreign criminals have no place in the United Kingdom and this scheme will help keep them out.
‘Since 2010, checks on foreign nationals going through the UK criminal justice system have increased by more than 1,000 percent, helping ensure more foreign criminals are taken off our streets and making our communities safer.
‘But we want to go further still by preventing these people getting into the country in the first place. Mandatory police certificates will serve as an additional tool to help us achieve this.’
Visa applications are currently checked against UK criminal records and any overseas offences that are recorded on the UK Police National Computer (PNC) or immigration systems.
But not all offences committed abroad are provided by overseas authorities to the UK proactively.
The changes are being announced now to ensure that people have sufficient time to obtain certificates from relevant countries before the scheme is introduced on September 1.”
This is the rollout of a trial scheme and is likely to be extended to other routes depending on the success of the trial. The rollout, however, is not likely to extend to visitors.
The process of obtaining a criminal record certificate can be quite cumbersome in some countries and the processing time can also vary from country to country. For instance, it can take up to four weeks to obtain a certificate in India whereas it can be obtained in less than three weeks in Canada. The changes call for potential applicants to plan well in advance the timing for the submission of their application.