As some of you may know, the UK Government is considering piloting a visa scheme where citizens of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria have to pay a GBP 3000 “bond” to be granted a visa of over 6-months in duration. While the specifics of such a scheme have yet to be detailed, the backlash from the Commonwealth has been tremendous with many politicians and policy-makers demanding that reciprocal arrangements be put in place for British tourists. If such a scheme is trialled by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, it will not only alienate potential tourists, who may not have GBP 3000 to spare, but also Commonwealth students and residents in the UK, who would not be able to have their family and friends visit if they wished to.
This Guardian article rightly points out, in further detail, why such a scheme is not a good idea in its present, nebulous form.
My personal, non-legal feelings about such a scheme: If you’re so keen to restrict the number of “illegal immigrants” overstaying in the UK, why not implement exit controls for Non-EU/EEA passport holders instead, as they do in Germany? I would think that would only require a couple of more counters, personnel and computers at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, etc.? As this article points out, would a GBP 3000 ‘visa bond’ really deter someone who wants to overstay? They’d just think its another overhead incumbent in the migration process. On a more sinister note, it would allow human traffickers to charge more for their ‘services’.