Visitors to Britain from 'high risk' countries will have to put up a £3,000 bond under plans introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May
They will only get the money back once they leave the country in a bid to end abuse of the visa system.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the intention was to make the immigration system more ‘selective’ and deter people from ‘overstaying’ once their visitor visa has expired. In the long-term, she hopes to extend the Australian-style bond scheme to also include foreign workers and students.
The idea will be welcomed by backbench Tory MPs, who have been urging the government to take a tougher line on immigration to combat the threat of UKIP.
But it is likely to face legal challenges on the grounds that – because it targets only people from so-called ‘high risk’ countries – it is discriminatory.
There are also fears it may lead to countries such as India making British tourists pay a similar bond.
The scheme will be piloted from November, for people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ghana. They are being targeted because of the high volume of visitor visa applications and relatively high levels of abuse.
Mrs May said: ‘In the long run we’re interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services.’
The £3,000 bonds are part of Mrs May's plans to bring annual net migration to under 100,000 by 2015