The United Kingdom has finally gone ahead to implement the policy that will ask visitors from Nigeria and five other countries which are labelled ‘high risk’ to pay a £3,000 cash bond in return for visitor visas that allow them to stay in the UK for up to six months.The affected countries, are Nigeria, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh are considered to be “high risk” nations
The new scheme is said to be a very small scale trial of the use of financial bonds as a way of tackling abuse in the immigration system which occurs when some people overstay their visa terms and it’s to commence in November.
But the Commonwealth countries affected by the policy which was announced in June are not taking it in good spirit. There was a protest in India last month and the Nigerian government asked Britain to renounce the scheme calling it a “discriminatory” policy.
The British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Andrew Pocock in a statement said;
“The vast majority would not be required to pay a bond. Those paying bonds would receive the bond back, if they abided by the terms of their visa,” he said.
More than 180, 000 Nigerians apply to visit Britain each year and about 70 per cent or around 125, 000 of these applicants are successful, he said.
“It’s embarrassing that our country would consider these measures against visitors who spend so much in our stores,” Managing Director of Harrods, Michael Ward was quoted as saying considering Nigerians are now believed to be the sixth biggest spenders on luxury goods in the UK.
“There seems to be a deeply frustrating attitude in Westminster that they should do whatever they can to actively prevent people coming to the UK,” Ward added.
According to UK official data, these six countries accounted for more than half a million visa applications in 2012.