News and Views

Ugandans will soon be required to pay £3,000 to enter Britain

By  | 

Visitors from India and other 'high risk' countries in Asia and Africa will be forced to pay £3,000 cash bond before they enter UK

Visitors from 'high risk' countries in Africa and Asia will have to put up a £3,000 cash bond to enter Britain.

The money will be kept by the Government if visitors do not return home by the time their visas expire.

A pilot scheme, introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May, will target hundreds of people coming to Britain on six-month visit visas from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The countries have been picked for their high number of visa applications and what the Government sees as relatively high levels of immigration abuse and fraud, reports the Sunday Times.

The bonds, to be introduced from November, will only apply to non-EU migrants, otherwise they would fall foul of European rights to free movement.

'This is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands while still welcoming the brightest and the best to Britain,' Mrs May told the Sunday Times.

'In the long run we’re interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services.'

A second scheme will cover countries such as Kenya, the newspaper reports, which are considered to be lower-risk because immigration officials have fewer doubts about migrants' plans to return home.

About 2.2million people are granted visas to enter Britain every year. Last year 296,000 people from India were granted six-month visas, as were 101,000 from Nigeria, 53,000 from Pakistan and 14,000 apiece from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Mrs May's plans, revealed by the Daily Mail in March, will be expanded to cover thousands of visa applicants and extended to work and student permits as well as tourists.

The Home Secretary plans to reduce annual net migration to under 100,000 by 2015.

Official figures earlier this year showed that the Government’s squeeze on entrants from outside the EU had pushed immigration into Britain to its lowest level in nearly a decade.

The number coming to live in Britain fell by 74,000 in the 12 months to June last year as curbs on students and workers from outside Europe began to bite.

‘We have reviewed all migration routes to the UK and have put in place measures to reduce immigration,’ said a source close to the Home Secretary when the plans were unveiled.

‘The latest statistics are encouraging and show that net migration continues to fall. But our work is not complete.’

The bonds could face criticism for not targeting the 'white Commonwealth', the Sunday Times suggested, while Canada rejected a similar scheme on grounds of discrimination against immigrants.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, has previously warned that such bonds will ‘antagonise settled communities in Britain and enrage our allies such as India’.

1 Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.