Community, Diaspora and Immigration
Home Office to go ahead with £3,000 visa bond
The UK Home Office intends to press ahead with plans to demand tourists from the Indian subcontinent, Nigeria and Kenya pay a £3,000 bond for a visa to visit Britain.
The plans caused outrage and brought charges of racism when first announced and led prime minister David Cameron to disown the proposals when confronted with opposition on a trip to India in June.
However the Financial Times reports the government will proceed with a pilot scheme to impose bond restrictions on six countries in November.
The bond will apply to visitors from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Kenya.
Luxury retailers denounced the plan as “insulting”, according to the Financial Times. The head of Knightsbridge store Harrods said: “It’s embarrassing our country would consider these measures.”
The Home Office said the requirement to provide a bond would not apply to all visitors from the six countries.
But it confirmed some tourists would be required to pay £3,000 in return for a six-month visa.
The Home Office said only those it considered “high risk” would be asked to pay.
A Home Office spokesperson told the paper: “We are interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services.”
The scheme could apply to up to half a million visitors a year.
Privately, some officials admit the bond is liable to deter visitors.