Monday, 29 July 2013

Nigerians begin payment of £3,000 cash bond for UK visa in November


NotwithstandingThe outcry against the £3,000 tourists visa bond, Britain will commence the scheme in the six listed Commonwealth countries in November, Financial Times report quoted the Home Office as saying.
The Commonwealth countries to be affected by the policy which was announced in June are Nigeria, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The affected countries are considered to be source of “high risk” tourists to the UK.
Some visitors from the six countries, under the scheme, will be asked 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.
There have been outpours of anger by governments of the affected countries, especially Nigeria and India against the policy. Continue...
The Federal Government, through the Foreign Affairs minister, Olugbenga Ashiru,  had in June expressed “the strong displeasure of the government and people of Nigeria” over the “discriminatory” policy.
Ashiru warned British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock at a meeting in the minister’s office in Abuja, barely 24 hours after the policy was announced, that the move would “definitely negate” the two country’s commitment to double trade by 2014.
The minister told the British diplomat that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, had “a responsibility to take appropriate measures to protect the interest of Nigerians who may be affected by the proposed policy, if finally introduced.”
The Home Office said on Friday that only individuals deemed “high-risk” would be asked to pay the bond. But some officials admits that the mere mention of a bond would be enough to deter visitors.
 “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,” an unnamed Home Office official said.
Ashiru said on Sunday that the UK embassy had not communicated to his office the plan to commence the bond scheme.
““They have not communicated with me,” the minister said when media sought his reaction to the latest development.

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