News Archive - September 2013

Lib Dems react to UK visa security bond issue

13 Sep 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The government's plans to introduce security bonds for UK visas have been far from popular but some members of Parliament have been more vocal than others over the issue.

The bonds will see people on temporary visas charged security bonds of £3,000, designed to serve as a deterrent to staying in the country past the date of the visa's expiry. The bonds would only be issued to people from countries deemed to be particularly 'high risk'.

Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable has been particularly outspoken in his criticism of the plans, stating that home secretary Theresa May's decision to set the bond so high has caused “outrage” in India. He added that a more “sensible and flexible” approach to the matter is needed.

Brent East MP Sarah Teather went a step further in her response, announcing that she will quit as Lib Dem MP as a result of the party's stance on immigration, as well as other policies. She has stated that the visa bond proposal left her feeling “desolate” and “catastrophically depressed”.

The idea for the bond was first floated by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who suggested that a cash bond of £1,000 should be paid by 'high risk' visitors.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Cable explained that the Lib Dem leader's original idea had been deliberately misinterpreted by Conservative cabinet members: “What Nick Clegg said was if somebody in the Indian sub-continent, for example, was turned down for a visa, they could, as an alternative, come up with a bond.

"And had that proposal been accepted I think most people would not have seen a problem with it. It would actually make it easier for some people to come who had good reason to do so.”