The British Embassies in Bucharest, Romania and Sofia, Bulgaria have announced that visa applications under the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) will resume from 1 September 2004.
Following new procedures that resulted from the Sutton enquiry conducted after the ECAA visa scandal earlier this year, now all applicants will be asked to attend an interview at the relevant British Embassy, by appointment only.
Individuals who submitted their ECAA applications before the suspension of the scheme at the end of March may be requested to go to the relevant Embassy for an interview. Embassy staff will contact those applicants shortly to schedule an appointment. Applicants are requested not to contact the Embassy to check on the status of their application.
New stricter guidance notes for visa services staff have been published to help identify applicants who do not qualify or who wish to abuse the scheme. Nevertheless, those who wish to genuinely establish themselves as business owners or self-employed individuals will continue to be welcome in the UK.
The ECAA scheme had been earlier suspended following reports of mishandling of applications and accusations of corruption. In June, Home Secretary David Blunkett announced the publication of a report looking into these allegations, where after stricter guidelines were announced.
If you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national wishing to start up a business in the UK as a self-employed individual, please contact us for details of how we can assist you with your visa application.