UAE expats slam new UK visitors visa bond

Published:  27 Jun at 6 PM
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The British government’s recent decision to charge visitors from so-called ‘high-risk’ countries a £3,000 cash bond before being allowed entry to the UK is being slammed by the UAE’s expat community.

The visitor’s visa bond will apply to all citizens over the age of 18 from Ghana, Nigeria, India Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and is due to come into force from this November. If the visitor leaves within the time stated on the visa, the money will be refunded.

The scheme is aimed at the prevention of overstay and illegal immigration by nationals of countries deemed to post a significant risk by the UK government. Its introduction is being considered as part of a pilot project intended to encourage selective immigration and reduce the number of immigrants entering the UK.

According to a British Embassy spokesperson, it will be part of a system of bonds and restrictions aimed at recovering the cost of foreign usage of the UK’s public services. The spokesperson added that, if the trial was successful, similar bonds would be introduced on all visa routes and would apply to all world countries.

The illogicality of the bond is causing anger amongst expats in the UAE, with one Dubai-based mother whose Indian daughter is studying medicine in Britain voicing her concern that she would not be able to visit her daughter. Tour operators whose clients are mainly Indian are also concerned, with one saying that the cash bond will severely affect his business as many clients will now choose not to visit.

Indian businessmen in Dubai who travel regularly to the UK are asking why the British government does not simply request stricter bank and credit card documentation or even sponsor references. Many expats from the countries covered are referring to the bond as discriminatory.
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