24 Mar 2017, 21 mins ago

In an effort to deter people from “high risk” countries over staying their UK short-term visitors visa, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a scheme that would force visitors from such countries to pay a “security bond” of £3,000 before entering the UK.

This scheme, which until this week had been scheduled to be piloted in November, would aim to deal with “overstayers” which the UK government claim is one of the biggest challenges facing the immigration system.

Targeting only visitors from certain countries presenting the greatest risk, and excluding visitors who have already visited the UK, the security bond of £3,000 will be required as a deposit for a 6-month visa, and which will be automatically forfeited unless they leave when required.

The list of countries that would face this new rule is yet to be publicly presented, however reports are currently suggesting that visitors from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria will be forced to abide by this new process.

The response this week has been widely negative and has prompted significant reactions from The Confederation of Indian Industry as well as Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje chair of the foreign affairs committee in the country’s House of Representatives. Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable has also expressed concerns regarding the policy, which have been backed by David Willets, Tory science minister.

This strong opposition to the scheme in addition to the policy provoking uproar in Delhi has now caused David Cameron to slam the brakes on the plan, with his aides now insisting that the details of the policy were in fact “not signed off” and Mr Cameron insisting that he will not sanction any policy which would undermine his growth agenda or the “open for business” message delivered on a recent trip to India.

Downing Street currently maintains pilot studies involving deposits would go ahead, but the scope and details are yet to be agreed.