Clamping down on visitors

The Economist reports that Britain is tightening the visa-waiver rules, essentially rescinding the visa waiver programme for countries it has decided pose threats. I’m guessing that this will be part of a growing trend, that the age of free and easy entry into countries like the US and the UK is likely over. I’m not sure that I think it’s a real problem either; introduction of a registration system like the Australian ETA (electronic travel authority, essentially an electronic visa that you can apply for over the internet) does not seem to me to be particularly problematic. The process is virtually painless (with the exception of the money charged to your credit card) and it can be done nearly instantaneously. I know that people always argue that business travellers need to be able to go places at the drop of a hat, but I suspect the age of spur-of-the-moment international travel is probably over. And it should be. If you really need to talk to someone in a distant land at the drop of a hat, just do what the rest of us international types do, and video conference over skype or any other video chatting service.

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