Dr. Andrew Pocock, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, recently spoke to clarify the intention of his home government on the controversy surrounding the £3,000 visa bonds for Nigerian applicants to the United Kingdom (UK).
Pocock, who met with the Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, on Tuesday, said the visa bond projects was not intended to be what the Nigerian media reported it as.
He pointed out that the British government had “ announced that it intends to undertake a very small scale trial of the use of financial bonds, as a way of tackling abuse in the immigration system – which occurs when some people overstay their visa terms.”
He said “the details of a pilot scheme are still being worked out,” adding that no final decision had been made.
According to him, “if the pilot scheme were to go ahead in Nigeria, it would affect only a very small number of the highest risk visitors.
“The vast majority would not be required to pay a bond. Those paying bonds would receive the bond back if they abided by the terms of their visa.”
He maintained that the travel between two countries was a key part of strong cultural and business relationship, noting that “financial bonds would be focused on only a tiny minority of potential abusers. It would not be a £3,000 visa charge as some media reporting has alleged.”
The commissioner added that with over 180,000 Nigerians applying to visit the UK each year, about 70 per cent or around 125,000 of the figure were successful.
He assured that “as soon as more details of the policy is decided, we will inform the Nigerian government and public fully and officially, in the spirit of our long standing friendship.”