UK visa could become £3000 dearer as Home Office mulls ‘bond’ visa trial

India News Bulletin Desk

UK visa applicants from countries with a high risk of visa offenders such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nigeria could be charged £3000 “bond” fees (2.7 lakh of Indian rupees) for a valid visa from November 2013 onwards, the Sunday Times revealed on Sunday and the Financial Times confirmed on Monday.

Home Secretary Theresa May planning to trial £3000 (2.7 lahk rupees) bond deposit for UK visa
Home Secretary Theresa May planning to trial £3000 (2.7 lahk rupees) bond deposit for UK visa
Image: Wikimedia Commons (Flickr: ukhomeoffice)

The move is aimed as a deterrent against visa abuse in the UK and is part of the Home Office’s series of measures aimed at making visa process stringent to curb immigration.

Latest update: July 30, 2012: According to a report in the Financial Times, the Home Office is pressing ahead with the £3000 bond visa pilot scheme for visitors from “high risk” Asian and African countries including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Nigeria. The move could affect around half a million visitors to the UK.

The £3000 cash bond deposit is the “next step in making UK’s immigration system more selective” bringing down UK’s net migration while still attracting “the brightest and the best to Britain”, home secretary Theresa May was quoted as saying.

The bond money will be forfeited if the migrants overstayed in the UK.

May also confirmed to the newspaper that, in the long run, Britain will introduce a system of bonds that will deter overstaying and recover costs should a foreign national use UK’s public services.

The pilot will be rolled out in November and will apply to visitor visas first. 

Indian industries’ body calls visa bond “highly discriminatory”

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) attacked the UK government’s £3000 security bond for visas as “very unfortunate” and “highly discriminatory”.

According to the CII, the bond fee is also against the “special relationship” with India publicised by the UK government.

“Such blanket rules for visas will negatively affect not only businesses, especially small businesses, it will also bring down the number of students going to the UK for higher studies and affect the tourism inflow from India to UK,” CII spokesperson said in a statement.

The Conservative-led coalition government wants to cut annual net migration down to tens of thousands by 2015.

But after facing criticism from the media, think-tank and trade bodies in India, the UK government was thought to be reconsidering the £3000 bond policy with reports suggesting that prime minister David Cameron had not signed off on the policy.

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