Visa bond feasibility yet to be chalked out: UK

Published: 27th June 2013 08:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th June 2013 02:18 PM   |  A+A-

After facing heat for planning to impose financial bonds for visa applicants from India, the British High Commission on Wednesday said that practical details for running the pilot project is to be worked out.

Earlier on Tuesday, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had articulated the opposition felt here about including the country in a club of six nationals, whose “high risk” visa applicants will have to pay a bond of 3,000 pounds or `2.7 lakh. He raised the issue in talks with senior ministers during his official visit to London.

With the outrage continuing unabated, the British High Commission spokesperson Marcus Winsley said that “the UK Government remains committed to immigration abuse and is looking at a range of options”.

“One of those options is a financial bond.  The government intends to run a pilot scheme for such bonds, tightly targeted at a small number of visa applicants assessed to pose a high risk of overstaying,” he said.

The High Commission spokesperson added, “But no decisions have been taken on the detail of how such a pilot scheme would work in practice.”

He asserted that “any such scheme will be designed in a way that does not cut across the UK’s wish to be open for business, students and tourists.”

The message of British Prime Minister David Cameron, he added, was “loud and clear”. “The UK wants the brightest and the best to help create the jobs and growth that will enable Britain to compete in the global race,” he said.

“So, for example, if you are an overseas businessperson seeking to invest and trade with world class businesses, one of the thousands of legitimate students keen to study at our first-class universities or a tourist visiting our world class attractions, be in no doubt: Britain is open for business,” added the British High commission spokesperson.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs also gave its first formal response, with spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin saying the “High Commission in London seeking official information on subject and its implications for Indian citizens”.

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