An online protest has followed the introduction of a visa bond of £3,000 by the United Kingdom for Citizens of Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh seeking entry into the country.
The UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, had announced that the £3,000 bond, which will be paid in cash, will serve as a security against foreigners living in the country illegally after the expiration of their visas.
Visitors to the UK aged 18 and above would be forced to hand over £3,000 for a six-month visit visa and will lose the bond payment only when they overstay their visas.
Our correspondent, who monitored the situation online, observed that news websites in some of the affected countries fed on the story as many of the citizens of the countries woke up to receive the news.
The angry citizens of many of the affected countries urged their countrymen to shun travelling to the UK in protest against the pilot scheme of the policy which will come into operation in November.
In India, citizens lamented that the visa bond will add to tourists’ burden, with many of them urging fellow citizens to consider other destination spots.
Commenting on New Delhi Television website — an Indian commercial broadcasting television network — a citizen of the Asian nation, Needhirajan Thenmozhi, says, “The visitors from India do not need to come to UK. They can visit other European countries. There is nothing special to see in Britain. There is only lot of hate in local people nowadays. The weather is miserable most of the time. Paying £3000 is not worth a visit. Visit South East Asian countries which have more history,beauty and humanity.’’
A commenter on the website, with the name Godwin, urged the Indian government to pay the UK in their own coin by introducing a similar bond payment for British citizens. According to him, the UK visa bond scheme is a subtle attempt by the UK to label all Indians as criminals who commit immigration abuses.
He says, “India should consider slapping bonds on UK-based visitors. Although visa abuse exists, the solution should not attempt to classify an entire sovereign nation for the fault of someone. India is a growing power and it does not suit them to be classified along with third world countries. Indian government, wake up!’’
In Ghana, citizens of the West African nation described the development as harsh, arguing that the UK should have looked at ways of better strengthening their intelligence and law enforcement to check immigration abuse.
Commenting on peacefmonline.com, a Ghanaian who was simply identified as Kwabena, writes, “I am highly disappointed at the United Kingdom Home Office directive. The UK should stop undermining people from other countries. Whoever came up with this idea should better sit up and find reasonable ways to prevent migration than this scam. The reason given doesn’t make sense.’’
Another Ghanaian, commenting on the same platform, with the name Yaw, says the best way President John Mahama can handle the situation is to introduce a reciprocal policy.
Yaw says, “Every country has the right to implement policies necessary to advance whatever objectives they desire. When it comes to immigration and visas, they way countries deal with these things is to implement a reciprocal policy. That’s it. End of story.’’
A Ghanaian with the name Tee says that the policy is unfortunate as many Ghanaians always welcome Britons into their country with “open arms.’’
Tee notes, “Look at these people. This is on big racism. Why Nigeria, Pakistan,Sri Lanka, Ghana while some other white people here have overstayed their welcome. I don’t blame Britons. I don’t know what’s so important in the country that people rush in.
“Americans that have the highest population of different races aren’t even complaining. Come back home, people. If they don’t want us in their country then let them be. What will one be doing in the UK if not for the people there that you love? But we always welcome their citizen with open arms in our country. Why can’t they do the same for us.’’
Also, a Pakistani, Sjaloha, commenting on a Pakistani online forum, pakpassion.net, says, “I can understand why the British authorities have imposed such a plan. However, it would be extra burden for those who are visiting UK for weddings or other ceremonies where the entire family is invited.”
Back home in Nigeria, Dapo Egunjobi, on Facebook, notes that the introduction of the visa bond is “an unfortunate decision by the UK government.’’
He adds, “My question is this: what about those travelling on medical grounds? it will be unfair to them to pay such bonds. After paying for medical bills, visa and ticket, paying another 750,000 naira is ridiculous even if the money will be returned.”
On punchng.com, a Nigerian commenter with the name, Watchful Eyes, says, “This is where the Federal Government needs to come in. Why will someone who wants to travel to the UK for whatever reason be mandated to pay such horrendous amount? Guys! that’s some N750,000.
“That is more than enough to pay your airfare, accommodation, feeding and all that stuff. Why must we be compelled to pay such an amount? If they (UK) need money they should work harder too and not use visa to strangulate us in order to revamp their economy.”
by Temitayo Famutimi