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The USA: students and bandits hamper visa free travel

Date: 28.01.2006

"Bulgaria must show that it doesn't tolerate organized crime. The criminal bosses must be isolated by the business circles, brought to court and imprisoned," said American Ambassador to Bulgaria John Beyrle. In tuesday, he and Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin signed a memorandum with which Bulgaria was included in the program for visa free travels to America.

"This will not happen this year or next year," Beyrle specified. He explained that at least 25,000 visas were issued to Bulgarians every year. In 2005 some 9,000 students went to America on brigades. It is expected that this year they will be even more - about 15,000.

"The problem is that many of the people who go to the USA remain there illegally," Beyrle stressed. He specified that the exact number of the Bulgarian emigrants was not known, but it was high. The ambassador accentuated that while the number of the illegal emigrants was not reduced to levels similar to these the USA had with states like France, Great Britain and Germany; Bulgarians must travel with visas only.

He added that the Bulgarian government had undertook important steps to decrease the illegal emigration and that Bulgaria was one of the leading countries when it came to the introduction of identity documents with high level of security.

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