In an attempt to combat the problem of visitors “over-staying” in the UK beyond their leave, the UK plans to make some international visitors pay a £3,000 security bond on entry. If you don’t leave when required, you forfeit your money.
Aimed at deterring visitors from ‘high risk’ countries staying in the UK once their short-terms visas expired, those travelling from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria (the sixth biggest spenders on luxury goods in the UK) are likely to be affected.
The Confederation of Indian Industry has publicly criticised the plan as “highly discriminatory”. But the Home Secretary Theresa May defended her “selective” approach to migration, which she claims “deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services.”
In the free London newspaper City AM on 1st August, Baroness Valentine condemned the policy and blames the extra visa requirements as the reason why Paris attracts five times more Chinese visitors than London. She claims that in the case of China alone this costs London over £1bn annually.
The government also seems to have forgotten that education is one of our most successful export industries. The Department for Business estimated that, in 2008-09, education exports were worth roughly £15bn – so why exactly is it that the government is now making it harder for international students to come to the UK?
The funny part is that the recent policy changes are based on incomplete data, as Phillippa Roe, leader of Westminster City Council put it last week “Disney World has better technology to keep track of its visitors than we do”. The shocking truth is we don’t actually know the number of the migrants in the UK because we don’t have exit controls!
Along with the recent announcement that there will be a ‘healthcare levy’ of £200 per year charged to those who come to the UK as students and workers and the recent advertising campaign in six London boroughs urging illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest’ the government is at high risk of further damaging the UK economy.
This has yet to be confirmed.