We must stop this illogical, economically damaging and ultimately racist law

The government is proposing a pilot scheme starting in November to ask visitors from India, Nigeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh to pay a cash bond of £3,000 for a visitor visa that allows them to stay in the UK for up to six months.

Home office

The government is proposing a pilot scheme starting in November to ask visitors from India, Nigeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh to pay a cash bond of £3,000 for a visitor visa that allows them to stay in the UK for up to six months.

Theresa May stated the reasoning for this policy thus:

“This is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands… we’re interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying… from November, a pilot scheme which will target visitors from those countries who will have to pay the UK government a form of cash guarantee…”

We must remember that short term visas are primarily used, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), for holidaying (32 per cent), business (29 per cent), or visiting friends and family (30 per cent).

Seventy-nine percent are issued to those from the EU, which none of the countries mentioned belong. With 79 per cent of short visits from the EU, which none of the countries mentioned belong.

Therefore, by their very nature and effect, this extra cash bond on the proposed countries would not bring down “net migration” so drastically.

The only other logical justification in her statement is that these are countries that visitors from which are “overstaying” in the UK. Again, this is not justified by the facts, with visitors from countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the United States, being just as guilty of overstaying.

The failing in the logic of the justification for the law is further proven by census data, which showed that those living in the UK as short-term residents – i.e. staying between 3 to 12 months – was 35 in every 10,000 residents, or 195,000 in total; of this number 70 per cent are between the ages of 15 to 29 and 75 per cent in full time education.

If these individuals were the target for the change in law, along with those from India and Pakistan, we would also need to target the Chinese, American , German, French and Australian as well as being in the top ten nationalities that are staying as short term residents.

In contrast to the illogical justification of the change in policy, the economic effect to the UK of this law change is clear and adverse, with 30 per cent of the visa being used for business purposes.

It is bizarre that this government would put such a barrier in the way for business to India when just recently David Cameron on his visit to India pointed out that: “Your country has the whole world beating a path to its door”.

Also adding Nigeria, the ‘Giant of Africa’, one of the largest oil producers in the world and growing at an average of 7 per cent, makes this policy economic madness.

The economic effect on tourism would also be severe: visitors from India, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the last three months alone have come and spent £165 million according to the ONS and will  near a £1 billion in needed spend for tourism this year.

Add to this the effect on the image of the UK as welcoming destination for travel, study and business and it is a sobering thought that any perceived extra revenue gained from the afterglow of the Olympics, could be lost by this change in law a year on for the tourist industry, the seventh largest sector in the UK employing 2.72 million people .

That Nigeria is the sixth largest spending nationality of luxury shoppers in the UK has lead to a fear of many major retailers from the chief of Harrods to Mark Henderson, chief executive of Gieves & Hawkes who stated on this change:

“What on earth is the point of us pouring all this money into our retail industry if we promptly usher potential visitors across the Channel?”

However, more worrying then the illogical nature and economic damage of this law is the moral precedent this law is creating. Here our government is proposing to impose on someone the extra requirement of a £3,000 bond, pre-entry, simply because of their nationality and race.

There is a reason why no European country is mentioned in this list as not only would it not be allowed within the EU free movement, but it is also clearly against Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights that prohibits discrimination based on:

“sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”

Indeed, all those UK residents who have heritage from the countries effected by this law can claim they have been discriminated against, as the ability of family to visit them has become harder than their fellow citizens with North American or European heritage.

There are not many issues that cut across politics as a moral absolute, but to judge and treat someone differently due to their race and nationality is one. Morally, if we do not stop this illogical, economically damaging law, we must accept that our nation has passed a fundamentally racist law.

8 Responses to “We must stop this illogical, economically damaging and ultimately racist law”

  1. Paul Odtaa

    There is already a strong and growing trend for wealthy Indians an Chinese to holiday in Europe, missing out the UK – as the process of just getting a visitor visa has been made more difficult – ie in most cases it involves a personal visit to a visa office; personal unfriendly questions and long queues.

    Having worked in the educational sector the present policy of tightening up procedures is putting good; and not so good, but wealthy, students off. At the same time Holland, Germany and now even France are setting up college and university courses and degrees especially to recruit people throughout the world – with the intention of a percentage becoming resident.

    These racist, as they clearly are racist, procedures conflict with the aim of building the economy. A tourist spending a £1,000 a visit a student spending £20,000 a year is income that comes straight into the country – it is money that goes directly into a business or wages.

    Positive impressions from the visit can help with the branding of UK goods and services which may then be bought subsequently on the visitors return to their own country.

    The anti-foreigner campaigns, such as the ‘Go Home’ posts on vans plus many of our tabloids, will cause more and more problems for visitors – which will invariably lead to unpleasantness, hostility and attacks, which will damage the image of Britain and will result in less people wanting to visit.

    If the right wing succeed in getting the UK out of the EU – then how is the country to going to pay its way?

    The City of London in the long term is going to lose out as the irritation of getting a short term visa will start moving investment and foreign banks to within the EU or to China and the Middle East. The recent scandals and the threat to pull out will already be having an effect.

    The education sector will lose billions in students, researchers and in the long term industry – as quality researchers and skilled professionals will not be allowed to stay in the country. This in turn will mean that less and less students will want to come to the UK in the first place.

    I therefore agree that this proposal is yet another petty racist proposal, not properly thought through, that will cause a long term, adverse effect on the British economy.

    This is even without looking at the effects on families.

    My son has moved to Australia and is now an Australian citizen. Why should he not be charged a bond for himself, his wife and my grandson – ie £9,000, while my friend Faisal, born in the UK and whose father was born in Pakistan – why should members of his family be bonded to visit and see his two children.

  2. Luke

    “We must remember that short term *visas* are primarily used…. for holidaying (32 per cent), business (29 per cent), or visiting friends and family (30 per cent).

    Seventy-nine percent *are issued to those from the EU*, which none of the countries mentioned belong.” (Emphasis added by me.)

    Isn’t something wrong here? You say 32% of visas are for holidaying etc, and that 79% are issued to those from the EU. But surely those from the EU don’t need visas? Are you confusing visas and visits?

    I agree that it’s a stupid idea, likely to be racist in its effect, whatever its intent.

  3. Ranjit Sidhu

    Hi Luke, thanks for the comment, it should have said:

    “With seventy-nine percent of short visits (same link) from the EU, which none of the countries mentioned belong”

    Thanks for pointing it out.

    Cheers
    Ranjit

  4. Leke

    The UK government chose carefully countries they can bully not necessarily countries that cause the most harm in terms of immigration defaults. The next thing I guess is to see how these countries will respond in retaliation…or will they as usual bow to the ‘colonial master’

  5. Jacko

    This piece is simply about the author trying to protect the interests of his fellow countrymen from overseas. But obviously he can’t put it like that, so he dresses it up in this fake concern for the British economy.

    Incidentally Mr Sidhu, the reason why these countries are being targeted is because they top the tables for visitors that either overstay their visas or come in on short term visas and just disappear. There aren’t tens of thousands of Americans or Australians illegally staying in the UK, but there are tens of thousands of Indians and Pakistanis and Nigerians. So far from being illogical as you claim, the policy is perfectly logical. Neither is it racist, it merely focuses on where the problem lies.

  6. Ranjit Sidhu

    Sorry jacko, you lost me on sentence one. Pray tell what are the “Interests of his fellow countrymen from overseas”

    As someone born in Hammersmith Hospital that seems rather “illogical”l to me? Or have you, dare I say, judged someone on the spelling of their name?

  7. Jacko

    I’m suggesting that fact you have an Indian name and the fact you have written an article attacking Indian visa restristrictions are not unrelated. Would you have written criticising Romanian visa restrictions, should they exist? I think not. Now how about answering paragraph two…

  8. Ranjit Sidhu

    Well your suggestion is wrong and yes, of course, I would defend regardless of creed and colour as that is my conviction. Your suggestion that my arguments are nullified by my name, is as ridiculous as it is insulting.

    The irony that you prejudged as the law will prejudge potential visitors was not lost on me

    As for you paragraph two, read the article and you will see that I dealt with it in the first part of the article in totally.

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