02 July 2013

PM calms fears over UK visa bond pilot

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that a new bond requirement on UK visa applications from high risk countries is only at the trial stage.

Australia visa

Prime Minister David Cameron inisisted the bond scheme was only at trial stage.

Home Secretary Theresa May outlined plans recently to make UK visa applicants from high-risk countries pay a £3,000 bond before their visas are granted to ensure they do not overstay.

The Government has received significant backlash from the proposal, claiming it favours wealthier applicants while discriminating against those who have genuine reason to temporarily visit the UK but do not have access to such a large amount.

Countries included in the proposal include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.

The new bond scheme will initially be introduced as a pilot scheme only to gauge its success, a factor Mr Cameron has been quick to stress in response to the criticism.

"We are looking at the issue of bonds for some migrants to the UK as a way to make sure that we deliver on our promise, which is that we want genuine students, genuine visitors. We don't want to have people who are effectively economic migrants," the prime minister said during his trip to Kazakhstan.

"That's what we say under the last government when immigration to our country got completely out of control.

"But the bond will be a pilot scheme, it has not yet been designed exactly how they work, but the key will be to make sure they reinforce the approach we have of welcoming genuine students, genuine investment but wanting to make sure we stop illegal migration.

That will be the aim of the policy."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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