The Government has announced tough new rules for foreign drivers wishing to obtain a British driving licence.
Under the previous regulations, a loophole allowed some non-EU drivers to exchange their licence for a British one, without having to demonstrate they had met with UK driving standards.
Currently, EU driving licence holders do not require a British driving licence, but those rules do not apply to drivers outside of Europe. However, arrangements are in place with 15 countries, including Australia, Canada and South Africa, that allow drivers to exchange their licences for a British one. Any driver in the world could then theoretically exchange a licence with one of the "approved" countries, and then exchange that licence for a British one. The problem occurs, therefore, when the British Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency cannot be sure that a driver has met the appropriate driving standards before exchanging their licence.
There are certain countries where the testing standards are comparable with those in Britain, and the change in law now means that non-EU drivers must prove they have passed a driving test in such a country, before a request to exchange driving licences will be processed.
Copyright Press Association 2013