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Commonwealth Visa Conference

Tuesday 13 December 2016, 0930-1300
Cabinet Room, 1st Floor, Virginia Woolf Building, Kings College, 22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6LE
The Ramphal Institute and the Royal Commonwealth Society would like to invite you to the
Commonwealth Visa Conference. Please register for your free place here
www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/commonwealth-visa-conference-tickets-29247837068.
This conference will look at the ongoing concern about and opportunities for Commonwealth visas
in the UK and across the Commonwealth and examine the current political debate (in the UK and
elsewhere) about international trade and the free movement of people. The conference will




review the current situation around Commonwealth citizens and visas for entry to the UK
and other Commonwealth countries,
update the body of knowledge on this issue,
reignite discussions about visas for Commonwealth citizens,
build on public statements during the EU referendum campaign and by ministers since about
opportunities for the Commonwealth
bring together interested parties for an information sharing and planning meeting.

The aim is to have a wide ranging discussion and agree some next steps towards reducing visa
barriers to Commonwealth citizens. It will be of interest to anyone interested in current
Commonwealth trade and immigration issues.
Background
In 2013 the Ramphal Institute was commissioned to recommend ways of easing visa obstacles for
legitimate travellers between Commonwealth states; in addition to a concern for tourists we
recommended a Commonwealth business card, comparable to the successful APEC business card.
Following our recommendations, a working party of Commonwealth officials, coordinated by Gary
Dunn, Deputy Secretary-General, has been working on practicalities.
The Royal Commonwealth Society (and previously the Commonwealth Exchange) have been working
on Commonwealth visa issues for a number of years. In the report How to Solve a Problem like a
Visa - Tim Hewish makes a number of recommendations about how to liberalise the visa regime to
benefit Commonwealth citizens and work has continued towards implementation of these
recommendations. The EU referendum in the UK has also given visa issues a new salience.

Programme (may be subject to change)
9.15

Arrival and Registration

9.30-9.45

Welcome and Introductions

Patsy Robertson, Chair, Ramphal Institute

9.45-10.30

Update on Commonwealth and
Current Visa Situation

Chair: Richard Bourne, Trustee, Ramphal Institute
Gary Dunn, Deputy Secretary-General,
Commonwealth Secretariat

10.30-11.15

Update from the UK

Chair: Mark Robinson, Trustee, Ramphal Institute
Rt Hon. Yvette Cooper MP, Chair, House of Commons
Home Affairs Select Committee (invited)
Home Office Representative (invited)

11.15-11.30

Break

11.30-12.15

International trade / business
/university update

Chair: Tim Hewish, Director of Policy & Research,
Royal Commonwealth Society
Bernard Donoghue, Chair, Tourism Alliance
Emily Follis, London Chamber of Commerce
Dominic Scott, UK Council on International Student
Affairs (UKCISA)

12.15-1pm

The view from elsewhere – a
panel of High Commissioners

Chair: Patsy Robertson, Ramphal Institute
Euclid Goodman, Minister Counsellor High
Commission for Barbados to the UK

1-1.15pm

Summary of discussion and next
steps

Patsy Robertson, Chair, Ramphal Institute, Richard
Bourne, Trustee, Ramphal Institute, Tim Hewish,
Director of Policy & Research, Royal Commonwealth
Society

1.15pm

Finish

Please register for a free place at the conference here www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/commonwealth-visaconference-tickets-29247837068.
Spaces are limited so please register early to avoid disappointment. Please also let us know if you
are unable to come so we can make tickets available to others.
For Further Information contact Richard Bourne richard.bourne@ramphalinstitute.org or Susie Latta
lattans@gmail.com