Discriminatory bondhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/discriminatory-bond/

Discriminatory bond

New Delhi must convey to Britain that its proposed visa regime is bad in principle

New Delhi must convey to Britain that its proposed visa regime is bad in principle

India has registered its surprise and outrage at Britain’s proposal to target it as a high-risk country and put in place special checks to curb unlawful immigration. According to the proposal,visitors from six countries,including India,will have to furnish a cash bond for 3,000 pounds to get a visa. Details of the category of visitors are still not clear,but it is a valid conjecture that those most likely to be stretched financially by such a measure will be affected. The proposed move is bad in principle,and New Delhi must convey exactly why.

Caution against the proposed visa regime has been voiced by both government and industry. To such interventions,the official British reaction has been along the lines of an assurance that the move will be tightly targeted to very few,presumably “high-risk” individuals,deemed to be likely to overstay their visa tenure in Great Britain. All countries take a stern view of illegal immigration,and understandably so. Around the world,there is a robust tolerance of paperwork and interrogation bordering on inquisition that visa-seekers must undergo to convince consular sections of embassies that they will not abuse the terms of the sought visa. Indeed,given that many relax these requirements for various countries — say,the EU zone or for US citizens — there is already in place a system of sterner checks for visa-seekers from developing countries. (As an aside,it may be noted that this sometimes gives rise to a demand for blind reciprocity,which must be resisted because it would only serve to harm the local tourism industry.) For Britain to begin to carve out a sub-set of high-risk countries,and then to target the most vulnerable within them,would be highly discriminatory and inhumane.

To put it simply,when a country goes to unusual lengths to target visitors from another,it is a sign that all is not well in bilateral ties. This is why India must continue to make the point that the discriminatory bond exceeds acceptable limits of tolerance in visa requirements.