African people twice as likely to be refused UK visas than applicants from elsewhere
London, 18 Sept. 2019 (CABNC): An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Africa has warned that many people from the continent of Africa with entirely valid reasons for visiting Britain, such as to do business or take part in cultural and academic exchanges, prevented or discouraged from doing so. According to new research which highlighted concerns about prejudice and discrimination in the UK Visa services concluded that Africans are more than twice likely to be refused a UK Visa in comparison with other applicants from other parts of the world.
The members of parliament found that 27 per cent of African visa requests made in the two years to September 2018 was refused, compared to the overall refusal rate of 12 per cent. For Middle Eastern and Asian applicants the figure was 11 per cent, while those from North America stood at 4 per cent.
The research found that “weak quality control and lack of oversight” was leading to “erroneous, careless and sometimes offensive” decisions, while the absence of any right of appeal meant wrongly refused applicants faced expensive re-application costs. Many of the applicants’ perceived racial discrimination in some of the assumptions underlying reasons for rejection which also correlates with the report’s conclusions that the UK’s hostile environment was being extended into Africa.
Chi Onwurah MP, chair of APPG, said the “broken” visa system was doing “severe damage” to UK-Africa relations across a variety of sectors at a time when the UK needed to be “open for business. As well as our relations, it damages our economy and society. It is embarrassing, patronising and insulting to African applicants and leaves the slogan of ‘Global Britain’ empty and meaningless”.The report noted the significant costs and inconvenience imposed on some African applicants emanating from rationalization of UK Visa services. This rationalization has meant that very few decisions are made in the country of application and for several African countries, the application submission and interviews are conducted in neighbouring countries.
UK Home Office has said “The UK welcomes all genuine visitors from Africa and wants its visa system to support our important and increasing business and trade ties with the continent. Visa applications from African nationals are at their highest level since 2013 and decision-makers do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, religion or race. We remain committed to getting visa decisions right the first time, every time.”