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Britain insists on radical visa plan

29 July 2013, 13:57 Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - Despite massive outcry, Britain is going ahead with plans to restrict visitors from six countries, including Nigeria, to enter the country.

The British government insists the scheme, which requires visitors to pay £3 000 bond, will be implemented at the beginning from November.

 “Britain is pressing ahead with its trial of a scheme to make visitors from six countries pay a £3 000 bond, despite an international backlash and complaints from businesses," media reported.

The British government has reportedly decided to go ahead with it though the Home Office insisted that it was meant to target only “high-risk” applicants.

An official told the media that the scheme would be “highly selective,” targeting only “suspicious” applicants.

Under a pilot scheme to be introduced in November, first-time visitors from six non-white Commonwealth countries, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, will be required to deposit a cash bond for the British visa.

According to the government, these six countries pose the most significant risk of abuse of visas by their citizens.

“In the long run, we are interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services,” the Home Office said.

The move comes barely weeks after Prime Minister, David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg, were reported to have refused to clear the scheme in its present form, fearing that the backlash in India and Nigeria threatened to damage bilateral relations at a time Britain was desperately trying to woo Indian investors and tourists.

Cameron was reported as saying that he would “not sanction” any policy that was likely to undermine his push for investment.

The u-turn was reported to have  provoked anger in Britain’s business circles.

Critics described the plan as an “insulting deterrent” to wealthy tourists from countries like India and Nigeria.

- CAJ News


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