This Article is From Nov 04, 2013

UK scraps controversial bond-for-visa scheme

London: The British government was planning to pilot a scheme starting November that would require Indians and citizens of some other countries to deposit close to 3000 pounds if they chose to enter the UK on a tourist or visitor visa.

The scheme aimed to stop people from abusing the UK's immigration system and overstaying on visas. Now, the British government has decided to cancel the scheme.

For Indians wanting to travel to the UK to spend time with family or just for tourism, starting this month, they'd have to deposit 3000 pounds as a guarantee that they are definitely coming back to India.

The Home Office has told NDTV that the scheme will now be scrapped. In a statement, it said, "The government has been considering whether we pilot a bond scheme that would deter people from overstaying the visa. We have decided not to proceed."

At an Indian restaurant in London's suburb of Harrow, most people welcomed the development. For Abhishek Gupta, a salesman, asking his parents to come visit him in the UK will now be affordable.

"I was worried. It was a big amount to spend, a really big amount to deposit with them. If I deposit that much money, I'll need a similar amount to spend too in the UK. So I was getting worried if I can call them to the UK," he said speaking to NDTV.

Another man of Indian-origin added, "You won't get the kind of tourism from India if you are going to spend so much on visas. Also for my relatives in India, if they have to spend 3000 per person, I don't think that is right."

A visa bond has been a political hot potato. Keith Vaz from the opposition called it a U-turn by the government.

"During this shambolic process the Home Office has managed to upset a number of foreign governments and confuse millions of potential visitors," the Labour MP was quoted as saying by the BBC.

NDTV contacted a number of Conservative MPs, but none were available for comment.