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Brent MP slams Home Office plans to charge foreigners £3k for a visa

PUBLISHED: 16:20 24 June 2013 | UPDATED: 16:21 24 June 2013

Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central

Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central

Archant

Sarah Teather is calling for proposals to be scrapped

A Brent MP is calling for the government to drop plans to charge some visitors to the UK £3,000 for a visa.

Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, has slammed the proposals by the Home Office as unworkable and discriminatory.

From November, visitors from six ‘high risk’ countries will have to pay the bond before they are allowed to enter the UK.

The pilot scheme, which aims to clampdown on immigration abuse, will affect anyone coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, India and Ghana.

The sum will be refunded providing they don’t overstay their visa.

Ms Teather, a former children’s minister, said the scheme would have a detrimental effect on many residents because of the demographics of the borough.

She said: “I am deeply concerned by the impact this policy could have on my constituents. If, for example, a couple in Brent want to invite their family to their wedding, they could be faced with having to pay a £3,000 deposit for 20 or 30 people, which is a huge amount of money by anyone’s standards.

“It is also highly unlikely that this policy will prevent those who want to flout the immigration rules, including human traffickers, from doing so as visas become purchasable. Instead, it will be legitimate visitors who can help boost our economy who will be punished and prevented from entering the country.

“This appalling idea was rightly criticised by the Liberal Democrats 13 years ago as being tough-sounding but half-baked.

“It should be abandoned immediately.”

Announcing the proposals, Theresa May, Home Secretary, said: “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, while still welcoming the brightest and the best to Britain.”

“In the long run we’re interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services.”

Are you a Brent resident who faces a huge bill because of the proposals? Ring the newsroom on 020 7433 000 or email times.series@archant.co.uk.

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