Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that, from November, visitors from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ghana will have to pay a £3,000 ‘deposit’ before they are allowed to enter the UK.

The Sunday Times reports that the pilot scheme, which has not yet been approved, is designed to deter immigration abuse, as visitors will lose the money if they fail to return to their home countries before their six-month visit visa expires.

Initially, the scheme will cover ‘high risk’ countries in Africa and Asia, because the UK receives a high volume of visitor visa applications from these countries, and there are higher than average levels of abuse.

Several hundred visitors will be selected from each country as part of the trial scheme, but there are plans to extend it to all visa types, including work and student visas, and to all countries. Only visitors from the EU will be exempt, because they do not require visas.

However, the Daily Mail reports that there are likely to be legal challenges to the plans, on the grounds that it is discriminatory because it targets only people from so-called ‘high risk’ countries. There are also fears that the scheme may lead to countries like India forcing British tourists to pay a similar bond.

Bellanaija reports that citizens of the ‘high risk’ countries have already protested online, and called for their countries to retaliate with similar fees for UK citizens.

However, an immigration bond system has been operating in Australia since the 1990s, and is largely viewed as a success. (aol.co.uk)