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UK suspension of visa-free access ‘unfortunate’ – says Dominica PM

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has told the Commonwealth of Dominica in a national address that the decision of the British Government to suspend VISA-free access for Dominica is unfortunate and hurts him but shall not permanently harm Dominicans.

In his address he assured nationals of Dominica that the British Government has made it clear that the decision does not represent a deterioration of relations between the two nations nor is it indicative of any diplomatic or other fallout.

The prime minister explained that every nation will rightly continuously review its own immigration policies and attitudes to address what it sees as contemporary challenges.

He said the decision of the United Kingdom to suspend visa-free access to the UK for holders of passports from a number of countries, including Dominica, must be understood in that general context.

PM Skerrit noted the UK have cited concerns with Dominica’s CBI programme. “I wish to assure the Dominican people that several changes have already been made to the structure and management of our program and in the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to implement additional measures to strengthen the programme.”

Dominica’s prime minister said much like the EU, the UK is in the midst of setting up its own Electronic Travel Authorisation program. When implemented later this year, anyone entering the UK who does not require a visa will have to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation to enter the UK.

PM Skerrit said he understands that at this time the imposition of visa requirements will create an inconvenience for many citizens who visit the UK for vacation, to visit family and who transit the UK frequently.

He noted this, however, does not prevent Dominicans from travelling to or through the United Kingdom as Dominicans are still welcome in the United Kingdom.

The prime minister added that to reiterate their desire not to impede the efforts of Dominican residents at home to enter and transit the United Kingdom, the British government has instituted a programme where it shall accept applications online and set up an office on demand in Dominica to allow applicants to submit their biometrics and to finalise their applications.

Dominicans who do not reside in Dominica can also request entry visas at UK consular offices nearest to them.