26 Jun 2013

UK visitor bond not liked

11:46 am on 26 June 2013

Indian business leaders are critical of plans to make visitors pay a £3000 "security bond" to enter Britain.

The idea, to be piloted from November, is aimed at deterring people from "high risk" countries staying in Britain when their short-term visas expire.

Under the plan, they would forfeit the money unless they left when required.

The Confederation of Indian Industry said it was "highly discriminatory" and risked further undermining Anglo-Indian relations already strained by changes to the UK visa regime for students

The British government says the problem of "overstayers" is one of the biggest challenges facing the immigration system. The BBC reports it wants to target visitors from certain countries who present the greatest risk.

Deposits will be reportedly required from visitors from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria.

The Home Office said the details of the pilot scheme had yet to be finalised and the countries yet to be selected.

"We're planning a pilot that focuses on overstayers and examines a couple of different ways of applying bonds,'' said Home Secretary Theresa May.

"The pilot will apply to visitor visas, but if the scheme is successful we'd like to be able to apply it on an intelligence-led basis on any visa route and any country."