UK visitors to pay cash bonds for entry


Immigrants would have to put up a cash bond to enter Britain under radical reforms to be introduced by the government.
Similarly, they will be required to pay the ‘entry fee’ as part of a guarantee that they will not be a burden on taxpayers and will leave when their visa expires. The cash will be repaid when visitors leave, but only if they demonstrate that they have not drawn on services, such as non-urgent NHS care or other elements of the welfare state.
Home Secretary Thersa May, who has already cut the number of migrants coming to Britain to its lowest level for almost a decade, wanted ‘immigration bonds’ to be the next stage of reforms. Sources said she hoped to announce a pilot scheme, targeted at ‘high-risk’ individuals from ‘two or three’ countries, starting later this year.
Migrants, or family members already in the UK, would be required to put up a sum running into thousands of pounds. The 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act gave the government the right to demand such a financial security from temporary migrants, which can be forfeited if they fail to leave after the expiry of their visa. However, May’s bonds would only apply to non-EU migrants; otherwise they would fall foul of European rights to free movement. The proposals emerged amid Labour attempts to shift its position on immigration, with the party admitting that it should have been more ‘ready to talk about problems’ in the system, adding, “That needs to change.”
Last week, official figures showed that the government’s squeeze on entrants from outside the EU has succeeded in pushing immigration into Britain to its lowest level in nearly a decade. The number coming to live in Britain fell by 74,000 in the 12 months to June last year as curbs on students and workers from outside Europe began to bite.
“We have reviewed all migration routes to the UK and have put in place measures to reduce immigration,” a source close to the Home Secretary told British media. “The latest statistics are encouraging and show that net migration continues to fall. But our work is not complete.” The source said Secretary May was examining “financial bonds as a further deterrent to reduce non-compliance by high-risk nationalities.” “We are looking at a pilot at the end of the year,” they added. “If you’re allowed to come to the UK on, say, a family visit visa, you would have to put down a bond to guarantee that you won’t draw on certain services and to prove that you will leave the country. When you leave, as per the terms of your visa, you can have your money back. If you don’t, we will put the money into an enforcement pot.”