Foreigners applying for a UK visa must prove they have no criminal record before they enter the country under new rules coming in on September 1, 2015.
The British government is making entry requirements much stricter after a study revealed that 30,000 out of 190,000 foreigners arrested in the country had criminal records in another country.
Less than half were known to police in the neighbourhoods where they lived.
As a trial, the first batch of visa applicants who will have to prove a crime-free past are foreigners applying for investment or entrepreneur visas that come with permission to live in the UK for the applicant and their families.
The applicants and dependants will each have to show they have no criminal record in any country they have lived in for the past 10 years.
If they cannot supply a certificate from the police in those countries or lie about their records, access to the UK will be denied and they will automatically go on a visa blacklist for 10 years.
After a trial, the measure will be rolled out across other classes of visas next year.
Immigration minister James Brokenshire said: ““Britain welcomes hard working and honest foreigners but we do not want to give homes to foreign criminals and we want to do what we can to keep them out of the country.
“Behind the scenes, police and border officers have increased criminal checks on visitors to the UK by 1,000% in the past five years. As a result, Britain is a safer place and the streets are free of crime these people could have committed.”
The new rule does not apply to European Union citizens who have freedom of movement among member states.
As a result, although the checks do stop some crime, they would not have prevented some serious offences like the murder of 14-year-old Alice Gross, who was found murdered after going missing from her West London home in August last year.
Latvian Arnis Zalkalns, 41, was named as a suspect. Police later found his body hanging in woodland nearby.
Zalkalns had served a seven year sentence for murdering his wife in Latvia before coming to the UK.
The criminal checks will not be imposed on tourist visas.
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