- Jun 25, 2007
Story from BBC NEWSTourist visa times 'to be halved'
Proposals to cut the time tourists from outside the EU can stay in the UK from six months to three are expected to be announced by ministers this week.
The move is among measures aimed at further tightening the visa system.
A deposit of at least £1,000 to be paid by families who want relatives to visit Britain will also be introduced.
Meanwhile, the Home Office has defended the payment of thousands of pounds to failed asylum seekers to persuade them to return to their home countries.
The new measures are said to be contained within a consultation document set to be unveiled by immigration minister Liam Byrne.
The BBC's political correspondent, Gary O'Donoghue, said the idea of a cash bond was not a new one but he understood ministers were convinced it was the way forward.
It would see people using "sponsored family visits" to enable relatives from outside the European Union to visit on temporary visas would need to put up a cash bond.
The bond would then be forfeited if the relative did not leave when the visa expired.
Our correspondent also said the existing right of appeal to a full tribunal against a decision by immigration authorities not to grant a visa could be scrapped.
He said such appeals which currently cost between £30m and £40m a year, could be replaced by a simpler and cheaper appeal process.
The government has already announced other changes to the visa system which Mr Byrne described as the "biggest shake-up of the immigration system in history".
They included a points-based system for economic migrants and the tightening of procedures for people bringing spouses into the country.
Separately, the Sunday Telegraph has reported how £36m was paid to failed asylum seekers to enable them to set up businesses back in their own countries.
Since 1999, more than 23,000 migrants have received up to £4,000 each under the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme.
According to the paper, the funding has enabled people to set up clothes factories or market stalls back home.
Shadow home secretary David Davis said the government was resorting to "bribing them to leave - with the taxpayer picking up the bill".
But the Home Office said the programme - part-funded by the EU - was cheaper than forcibly returning failed asylum seekers which costs £11,000 a time.