The UK government’s decision to scrap the £3000 visa bond comes as a sign of relief for India and other countries termed as “high risk”.
In a bid to tackling illegal immigration, the UK Home Office had announced its intention to pilot a scheme to charge a bond of £3000 to adult nationals of six countries intending to visit the UK. The countries termed as “high risk” were India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria.
This scheme was due to run for 12 months starting from November 2013. The bond payment would be returned if the visitor returned to their home country after the visit visa expires.
Australia and New Zealand have similar schemes where financial bonds are applied to visitors in order to mitigate the risk of them overstaying their visa.
This scheme sparked outrage in India and received criticism from several ministers and agencies.
Scrapping the scheme
On scrapping the scheme, the CII said, “The Confederation of Indian Industry welcomes the move by UK government to withdraw the pilot scheme of £3000 visa bonds for visitors from 6 countries including India.
‘These unfair and discriminatory measures would have alienated settled communities in the UK, making it very difficult for family and friends to visit,” said British MP Virendra Sharma.
MP Keith Vaz said, “The Home Secretary is right to shelve the bond proposals. Unfortunately the damage has already been done to our relationship with India. During this shambolic process the Home Office has managed to upset a number of foreign governments and confuse millions of potential visitors.”