Hurst says Gov’t must be proactive to survive future EU visa restrictions, while Browne says ETA UK will do CIP no harm

While spokesperson Lionel “Max ” Hurst says the Government has to
be proactive to withstand the European Union’s plans to impose visa
restrictions on some countries, Prime Minister Gaston Browne is
downplaying the United Kingdom’s introduction of an Electronic
Travel Authorization (ETA).

The ETA UK, as it is called, is being introduced mainly to improve UK
border-control measures. Browne says it is a requirement for a
number of countries that do not require visas, at present – “even the
great United States” – and Antigua and Barbuda is no exception. 
He says the ETA is not quite a visa, but, literally, a pre-screening
arrangement in which requests for permission to travel are made
online. And, invariably, unless there is something untoward about
the applicant, the travel authorization will be issued.

He says that, currently, there is no visa requirement for Antiguans
and Barbudans to travel to the UK.

The relevant facts are in the public domain, he adds, since, two
weeks ago, Britain published information on this new requirement
and all the countries that are affected.

This is not the case for the Commonwealth of Dominica, however,
since its passport holders now require a visa to travel to the UK.
Border-security breaches reportedly were the basis for that

Residents have voiced concern that Antigua and Barbuda could
suffer the same fate as Dominica. Hence, in Parliament last week,
Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle asked Browne what interventions
are being made to address the possibility of Antiguans and
Barbudans being required to present a visa to visit the United

In the meantime, Hurst says the Government will answer the UK’s
concerns as they relate to due diligence in our Citizenship by
Investment Programme – and claims our vetting is more intrusive
than other countries.

But Hurst acknowledges that this country risks suffering the same
fate as Dominica if the UK takes a broad-brush approach to all CIP

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Browne is dismissing fears that the new
UK travel requirement will negatively impact the CIP and reduce its
current yield.

The programme is marketed on the basis that Antigua and Barbuda
citizens enjoy visa-free access to several countries, including the UK.

But Browne reiterates that the ETA is not a visa requirement and
even CIP citizens are eligible for entry into the UK with this travel
document. therefore, the Government does not anticipate any
reduction in financial yield.