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Malawians now need UK visitor visas

Nationals of the African nation of Malawi need visas to visit Britain as of March 1, 2006, the UK government said.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty said visas are being introduced because of a growing number of asylum seekers from Malawi and other Africans using Malawi passports.

"Visas are an important tool in effective border control and our visa policy is kept under constant review to ensure that requirements remain proportionate and are responsive to changing situations," McNulty said.

Malawi nationals will require visas to visit or transit Britain from March 1, although there will be a period of grace for those who have already made travel plans.

The number of asylum applications from Malawi nationals has been growing - from 45 in 2001 to 170 in 2004 - and the government says there has been an increasing number of immigration offences among Malawians, including overstaying leave to remain in Britain. -