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Visa bonds issue divides UK coalition

Britain’s plan to introduce a controversial scheme of demanding a whopping 3,000 pounds visa bond from visitors from certain countries, including India, has divided the country’s coalition government, with a senior minister terming the move as ‘very disappointing’. Business secretary Vince Cable, a member of coalition partner Liberal Democrats, admitted the proposed scheme which has already triggered worldwide outrage would send out the ‘wrong message’.

‘It is very disappointing and it has not been agreed across the coalition and it seems to send the wrong message that Britain is closed for business. The operation for the visa scheme, together with the bonds on these Commonwealth countries is simply having the effect of driving bona fide visitors who want to spend and to do business in the UK to France and Germany,’ Cable told The Financial Times. .

Cable, known for his business-friendly stance, had also assured his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma during a visit here last month that such a scheme had not been given the go-ahead. The Conservative-led government has been keen to cut immigration figures into the country and crack down on visa over-stayers. Coalition partners Lib Dems had been in favour of a visa bond scheme as an extra route for people who have been rejected for visas. ‘It was never meant to apply to everyone,’ Cable explained.
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