UK wants Nigerians, others to pay £3,000 visa bond
Are you a Nigerian and are planning to travel to Uk? Here is a shocker for you: you may not be able to do so unless you are ready to cough up £3,000 (N720,000).
That is the amount the British government may requiring from Nigerians and nationals of other five other countries who are seen as prone to immigration abuse.
The money will serve as visa bond for nationals of these countries seeking to enter Britain.
According to a report in the Sunday Times of London, visitors aged 18 and over would be forced to hand over £3,000 ($4,600, 3,500 euros) from November for a six-month visit visa.
That is part of a pilot scheme that will target visitors from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Pakistan and India.
Primarily, the bond is meant as additional measure to dissuade nationals of these countries from overstaying their visa period as they would forfeit the money if they overstay in Britain after their visa has expired.
. Home Secretary Theresa May said the David Cameron administration was serious about cutting immigration and abuses in the British visa system.
The Federal Government last night said although it had not received any communication to that effect, such a policy, if implemented, would be discriminatory.
In his reaction, Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru said theFederal Government had not been informed by the British Government about such plan.
'We have not received any communication from the British Government on this policy. I cannot comment on it now.
'When we are communicated, we will react appropriately. I don't believe so. That policy will be highly discriminatory, he was quoted to have said in a report
Initially, the scheme will target hundreds of visitors, but the plan is to extend it to several thousands, according to the broadsheet's front-page report.
The populist United Kingdom Independence Party has been encroaching on the Conservatives' traditional core vote in recent months.
Cameron wants annual net migration down below 100,000 by 2015.
'This is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands while still welcoming the brightest and the best to Britain,' May was quoted as saying.
'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.'
A Home Office official said the six countries highlighted were those with 'the most significant risk of abuse'.