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UK scraps contentious visa bond plan ahead of Cameron's visit

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The controversial 3,000-pound visa bond scheme for some "high risk" overseas visitors to the UK including those from India which was scheduled to be implemented on a pilot scale this month has been scrapped, it was officially stated today.

"The government has been considering whether we pilot a bond scheme that would deter people from overstaying their visa. We have decided not to proceed," a government spokesman told PTI today.

The move comes ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron's third visit in two years to India on November 14.

Cameron, who will make a day-long visit before heading to Sri Lanka to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on November 15-16, will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on key bilateral and regional issues.

India had conveyed its serious concern about the scheme to the British government both at the ministerial and official levels.

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg had also supported India's stand and threatened to block the proposal.

The aim of the scheme was to reduce the number of people from some "high risk" countries - including India, Pakistan, and Nigeria - staying in the UK once their short-term visa had expired.

Visitors would have paid a 3,000-pound cash bond before arrival in the UK - which would be forfeited if they failed to make the return trip.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee had also voiced his concern about the controversial bond scheme.

"During this shambolic process the Home Office has managed to upset a number of foreign governments and confuse millions of potential visitors. This is not the way to fashion a strong and effective immigration policy," he said.

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First Published: Mon, November 04 2013. 19:21 IST
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