Tourists to pay to stay


(eTN) – The length of time tourists can stay in Britain is to be halved to three months in a crackdown on visa controls.

The UK Home Office also wants family members who “sponsor” visits to Britain by relatives from outside the EU to pay a $2,350 bond which would be forfeited if the visitor does not leave.

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A consultation document, which will outline new proposals, will be published later today to ensure those who visit the UK for tourism, business or to visit family comply with the conditions of their visa.

“This consultation is part of the biggest shake-up of Britain’s immigration system in its history and will include a new Australian-style points-based system, which will start for economic migrants in under 100 days,” said Clive Hunton of the British High Commission in Canberra.

The change comes as the British Government continues to face criticism over its alledged failed attempted to persuade asylum seekers to leave the country by offering $9,400 “bribes”.

The UK’s Sunday Telegraph has reported how $85 million was paid to failed asylum seekers to enable them to set up businesses back in their own countries.

Since 1999, more than 23,000 migrants have received up to $9,400 each under the voluntary assisted return and reintegration programme.

According to the paper, the funding has enabled people to set up clothes factories or market stalls back home.