What do Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have in common? The answer is simple: English-colonized, large Muslim population, poverty-infested, backward, and underdeveloped; and now, the latest entrant to the similarities – £3,000 UK Visa Bond. The latest immigration policy of the UK particularly for these five countries have been met with a very angry reception, if not in other countries, Nigeria and India, at least. The highest echelons of the governments there are not taking this issue lightly, and so are the citizens.
After 300 years of slavery (for Nigeria), 150 years of colonialism, and over 50 years of post-colonial, and imperialist rule, the UK seemed tired of nationals from these countries. After centuries of exhausting the sweat, blood, and labour of these people and their forbearers to build the Queen’s land, the UK policy molders seem to be saying, “thank you for helping develop our country, we need you no more.” This is the most unfair immigration policy to be conceived in recent times.
Come to think of it, is that the only reason the UK is blocking it’s hitherto “friendly commonwealth citizens” from visiting the Queen’s land? I don’t think so. Let’s take a look at the following three reasons and see if they are connected.
Politics & the Next UK Parliamentary Elections
David Cameron and his Conservative Party seem to be playing to the gallery with this new immigration policy. For those who have followed recent elections in the Eurozone, it would not be news that the party with a strong anti-immigration policy appeals more to the electorates; especially in the face of the economic recessions crushing almost all of Europe. In other words, selling this idea to the electorates might just secure the seats for the Conservatives, come next polls.
Tougher immigration rules ensures a more stable social welfare and cultural regime for native Europeans; this is one of the strongest points during election debates in recent times. Therefore, a government in power would do all it can to appease the minds of its citizens with a very unfriendly immigration policy that would keep the ‘aliens’ away – it’s all about the ‘ballots in the box.’
Internal Security & Anti-Terrorism
No doubt, one of the biggest concerns of the ‘super-powers’ today is security of its citizens both home and abroad – but especially at home. Following the successful September 11, 2001 attacks on the twin towers in New York and the July 7, 2005 terrorist attack in London, the UK Home Department has consistently taken very strong measures to curb this menace.
By way of doing so, racial and religious profiling is used as a tool – albeit, morally wrong. Consequently, the five countries listed as pilot projects for the £3,000 UK Visa Bond policy have been profiled wholesale. Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have combined, hundreds of millions of Muslims in their region who have (and very unfortunately so), been profiled as potential terrorists. This is one of the most racially and religiously biased views mankind has ever witnessed.
So, to curb the inflow of suicide bombers and other such threats to national security, the bar is raised a notch further; no £3,000 deposit, no entry; no entry, no terrorism. Clever, hmm? Or why do you think Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa, etc. – all former colonies of the Queen, and very frequent UK visitors and residents are exempted from this immigration regime?
Financial & Economic Benefits
Perhaps the most profitable of all the reasons this policy was introduced is the attendant financial gain the UK is expected to get. Other than the very exorbitant visa application fees imposed on citizens of these countries (one of the highest in the world), the interest-free £3,000 UK Visa Bond is a surefire way of further shoring up the purse – especially for the High Commissions in those countries.
This might sound rather smart for UK citizens who are at a loss as to how the Conservative government aims to raise revenue and sustain its dozens of embassies and High Commissions all over the world even in this hard times. On the other hand, it is not only wicked, it is perfidious that a country that has benefited – and is still benefiting – so much from the many centuries of free labour of peoples from these lands would request an apparent six months interest-free loan to the tune of hundreds of millions of Pounds from beleaguered and poverty ridden Third World citizens.
Where the hell has morality gone, where is our conscience, have we finally thrown out ethos and values out of the window? These questions I expect the House of Lords and House of Commons to ask themselves.
If as many as 180,000 Nigerians apply for UK visa in a year, and a sizeable number (just about same) applies also in these other four countries, soon, the UK would seal this policy in concrete or even increase the fee – I won’t underestimate the length a Conservative government would go to raise funds, history tells us so.
Paradoxically, the UK government is built and runs on immigrants; the number of Nigerian and Indian students in the UK education system alone accounts for a huge chunk of the total immigrants studying in the UK; furthermore, the number of Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis in the informal sectors are indicators of a mutually beneficial relationship hitherto enjoyed up till now. Why is the Home Department and the entire Conservative party making it look like a parasitic relationship where one is fleecing on the other? The UK gains as much from these visitors as they do from the Queens land, if not even more.
I think the quicker this £3,000 UK Visa Bond policy is reversed, the better for everyone. Otherwise, the UK should just brace up for lesser patronage for their airlines and High Commissions, and more illegal immigrants, increased shady deals to smuggle people into the country, and many other such vices. A word is enough for the wise; think twice my dear Queen!
Photo Credit: touchfm.org
Oluwaseun Babajide is the founder and CEO of Sbabzy.com, a source of unique breaking news, blogging, personal and professional tips, apart from featured Interviews with top bloggers. He loves working on the internet, golfing, researching, writing articles, and meeting new people. You can send him an email [email protected], follow him on Twitter @sbabzycom or like him on Facebook.