The UK is to pilot a scheme where visitors from countries who have a “high risk” of overstaying in the UK will be asked to deposit £3,000 with the UK Border Agency (“UKBA”), to be returned to them upon their departure from the UK. If visitors overstay, then they will forfeit the £3,000 deposit sum.
This appears to come as the latest step in the Government’s commitment to reducing net migration to less than 100,000 by 2015.
Details are yet to be confirmed, but it is reported that visitors from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria would be subject to the levy. The plans are unlikely to impact on those coming to the UK under the points based system of immigration, but would impact those coming to the UK on visitor visas. The deposit would reach £3,000 for a six-month visa.
Officials from countries that would be affected by the levy are unhappy about the proposal. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has described the plan as “highly discriminatory and very unfortunate” and has warned that it could delay agreement on an EU-India trade deal.
David Cameron has responded to dissatisfaction from Indian business officials and other countries who would be hit by the Government’s proposals by telling Theresa May, Home Secretary, that he will not sanction any proposal which undermines his growth for business agenda or the open message he wants to give out to businesses in India.
Nick Clegg has commented that any such security bond could be a “useful tool” if properly and fairly implemented which would assist in making the UK’s immigration system more efficient.
The Home Office has said that the scheme, which would be run on a pilot basis from November, has not been finalised and the countries involved are also yet to be finalised.