Resident family members of visitors travelling on short-term visas to Britain would be responsible for overstaying or any rules broken by their guests, the British government announced on Wednesday.
The plan to introduce a new family visitor category for short-term visas from 2009 includes a penalty of £5,000 and a 14-year jail sentence to the family member who takes the responsibility of the guest’s stay in Britain, in case of any violation of law by the visitor.
British citizens and those with Permanent Residency in Britain would have to become licensed sponsors for family members for quicker processing of visa applications along with better chances of getting the visa.
These sponsors would be given I-cards and would be held liable in case of violations of visa conditions by guests. They would have to ensure that no visitor sponsored by them stays beyond the six-month period allowed on a short-term visa.
Nearly 1.5 lakh Indians apply for tourist visas to visit their families in Britain each year. Of these about 38,000 were rejected for different reasons, mostly lack of documents, a British High Commission official said.