HSMP Forum’s Press Release


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Dt – 25th June 2013

Government’s latest attempts at targeting Asian and African immigrants by imposing a 3,000 cash bond for visit visas is nothing short of a ludicrous proposition.

The HSMP Forum, which campaigns against unfair treatment of non-European immigrants, believes that such a proposal highlights the increasingly callous attitude of the government towards the immigrant population in the UK.

Under this so called “pilot scheme”, visitors from Asian and African countries will soon have to pay a cash bond when applying for a visitor visa, for duration of six months or more, which will be forfeited if the visitor overstays in the country.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, is justifying her decision by claiming that this will help to tackle abuse and illegal immigrants, and enable her party’s target to reduce net migration numbers by 2015.

The Home Secretary has not provided any evidence to justify why the six Asian and African countries were chosen, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ghana for this pilot project, and the decision behind setting an arbitrary figure of 3,000 British Pounds as a “bond” is also questionable.

However, this approach of the conservative government is nothing new. When the Immigration Act 1971 was introduced, it deprived only the non-white commonwealth countries from entering the UK without a visa.

The cash bond which will be introduced in November 2013 yet again undermines relationship with non-white commonwealth countries.  These countries may find the tag of “high risk” very derogatory and may consider levying similar sort of counter measures.

In 2007, when the Labour government tried to introduce a financial bond scheme of 1000 British pounds for visitors on case-to-case basis, the conservatives called it a “headline grabbing gimmick” and now they plan to introduce a harsher version of those plans. It could well be that the government feels threatened by the growing popularity of UK Independence Party (UKIP) and as a desperate measure to show that they are more right wing than the UKIP, they are resorting to such unfair policy amendments.

These new changes could turn inviting family members of residents in the UK into a very expensive affair. Asian families are culturally close knit and invite their family members and relatives over for marriage or festive occasions. Under these circumstances, paying 3,000 per family member is quite an exorbitant sum of money. This amount will be locked with the government for six months at least and there is no information if the Home Office intends to pay any interest rates to the applicant or sponsor during this time.

Executive Director of the HSMP Forum, Amit Kapadia, said, “I find it very discriminatory that only nationals of African and Asian countries are being targeted. We are also concerned that the government may go ahead to apply the financial bond scheme for all kinds of visas at a later date.

Mr Kapadia further said, “The government has already introduced income thresholds in July 2012 for immigrants who intend to sponsor their spouse or parent to the UK. It is well known that the people falling foul of these changes will be ethnic minorities, as they are the ones who are usually on lower incomes due to discrimination in employment opportunities. These new changes mean the bond money would make it even more difficult for immigrants to invite their family members to visit them in the UK on temporary basis. This government seems to be very persistent in making non-European immigrants lives difficult in order to achieve their political goals. ”

Notes for the editor

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HSMP Forum is a not-for-profit organisation and bears its origins to the UK's Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, which was introduced in 2002. It was formed after the 2006 decision by Government to apply new qualifying criteria for existing Highly Skilled Migrants. HSMP Forum has been lobbying the legislature, executive and the judiciary by challenging unfair policies to Skilled Migrants to work and settle in the UK. The aim of the organisation is to support and assist migrants under the world-renowned British principles of fair play, equality and justice and believes in challenging any unfair policies which undermine the interests of immigrants.


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