On Wednesday, Britain's Home Office announced that it would impose a visa requirement for Salvadorans seeking to enter its country because of the significant increase in their asylum applications.
US Blamed for Gang Violence in El Salvador
Over the past five years, many Salvadorans have been driven to immigrate to search for new opportunities or flee from gang violence in their home country.
In 2021, the U.K. processed 703 applications, representing the highest number of applications for a country whose citizens could visit without a visa.
"The visas provide access to the U.K. while helping to protect its borders," British Ambassador to El Salvador David Lelliott said, stressing that the new rules imposed for Salvadoran citizens who wish to travel to his country will not buy the excellent state of bilateral relations.
Although the visa request will take effect immediately, Lelliott stressed that there will be a transition period of four weeks until Wednesday, June 8. Visitors who have purchased their trip before 9:00 on May 11 may be able to enter the UK without a visa.
According to the Francisco Gavidia University (UFG), the 2021 poverty rate in El Salvador increased by about 23.3 percent compared to 2019 and inflation rates reached 3 percent.
The homicide rate fell from 103 per 100,000 inhabitants to 20 per 100,000 inhabitants between 2015 and 2020. However, many citizens continue to be killed by gangs. In March, for instance, at least 62 people were killed in a massacre in which gang members fired indiscriminately into the street.