British High Commissioner clarifies on ‘Visa Bond Scheme’


jamesbevanResponding to a letter of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), James Bevan, British High Commissioner to India, said that Britain is and will remain open: for business, for students, and for the hundreds of thousands of Indian visitors and tourists who come to the UK every year.

“At the same time we are committed to tackling abuse of our immigration rules. As part of that, the UK government is considering a pilot scheme which would test the impact of requiring a financial bond from certain visa applicants to deter them from overstaying their visa. No decisions have been taken on the details of how such a scheme would work. Any such scheme would be tightly targeted on a small number of visa applicants assessed as high risk, and designed in a way that does not cut across the UK’s wish to remain open for business, students and tourist,” Bevan said in a letter to the OTOAI.

OTOAI recently penned a letter to the British High Commission addressing the recent issue on the UK visa bond. In his response mail, British High Commissioner called much of the media reporting about this issue as “misleading or simply wrong” and welcomed the chance to clarify matters.

The High Commissioner’s letter further stated that, as the country decides whether and if so how to take forward this scheme, they will take into careful consideration the concerns that OTOAI and others have expressed. Second, once the decision has been made, they will seek to inform OTOAI and others with an interest quickly and clearly. Thirdly, Bevan reassured them that Britain greatly values the many Indian tourists who come each year to the UK, and are keen to increase further their numbers: with no intention of placing obstacles in the way of legitimate visitors.

“Let my conclude by saying how much we value the work which you and your members do to promote the UK as a destination of choice. We remain committed to our partnership with you on this, and will continue to work with you to ensure it goes from strength to strength,” the letter said.