Following rumours of the introduction of a visa bond by the UK into the visa policy between it and Nigeria, the British High Commission has responded to the visa bond saga. In a statement signed by the Head of Press & Public Affairs Section, Robert Fitzpatrick, the High commission said the British government is willing to give a the policy a try but was quick to point out that it does not apply to every Nigerian visiting the UK. “In response to speculation in the press regarding the possible implementation of ‘visa bonds’ for Nigerian visa applicants to the UK, High Commissioner Dr Andrew Pocock met with Foreign Minister Ashiru on 25 June. Following that meeting High Commissioner Dr Andrew Pocock said “I welcome the chance to set out the facts on so called “visa bonds.” The British Government has announced that it intends to undertake a very small scale trial of the use of financial bonds as a way of tackling abuse in the immigration system (which occurs when some people overstay their visa terms). The details of a pilot scheme are still being worked out. No final decision has been made. If the pilot were to go ahead in Nigeria it would affect only a very small number of the highest risk visitors. The vast majority would not be required to pay a bond. Those paying bonds would receive the bond back, if they abide by the terms of their visa. Let me put this in perspective. Over 180,000 Nigerians apply to visit the UK each year. About 70% or around 125,000, of those applicants are successful. Travel between our two countries is a key part of our strong cultural and business relationship. Financial bonds would be focused on only a tiny minority of potential abusers. It would NOT be a “£3000 visa charge” as some media reporting has alleged. As soon as more details of the policy have been decided, we will inform the Nigerian Government and public fully and officially, in the spirit of our long standing friendship, and our wish to help bona fide Nigerian visitors to work, study or do business in the United Kingdom”.
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