scraps controversial proposal for short-term visas
New Delhi, June 25, 2008
Britain on Wednesday scrapped controversial plans
to impose financial bonds as guarantees to ensure that family visitors
from India and elsewhere leave the country on the expiry of their
The government said it had no plans to introduce financial bonds
for family visitors, and added that there will be a new sponsored
family visitor category with licensed sponsors who would vouch for
the family visits.
A large number of visas are issued every year by the British high
commission in India to family members of people of Indian origin
here who either have British passports or permanent residency.
The new plans were intended to modernise the short term visa system
to ensure that the UK remains attractive to business and tourism,
whilst deterring those who seek to break the rules, the government
said in a statement.
The new changes were announced following a three-month consultation
with communities abroad, as well as communities in the UK.
"We know that many people have a stake in us getting this
policy right. We therefore issued a consultation document last year,"
Minister of State for Borders and Immigration Liam Byrne said.
"In addition, I not only travelled around the UK listening
to people, but was also accompanied by a delegation of community
leaders and businessmen to India to review first hand some of the
issues in one of our most important overseas markets," he said.
The statement said the system for sponsored family visitors will
see significant changes.
British citizens and those with permanent residency in the UK will
be required to become licensed sponsors before family members can
visit from abroad.