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Parliament invites memos from visa applicants

7th Parliament1 Parliament of Ghana

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 Source:

The Committee on Foreign Affairs in parliament is calling for memoranda from the general public on the ill-treatment meted out to Ghanaian visa applicants by various embassies.

This follows a directive by the Speaker of parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye for the committee to investigate the subject matter.

The committee is, therefore, encouraging members of the public to forward their experiences and complaints to the Clerk, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Parliament of Ghana, before 8 December 2017.

The public has also been advised to add suggestions and recommendations toward how to improve the process.

The ill treatment of Ghanaian visa applicants was first brought before parliament by MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

Presenting a statement on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee described the treatment meted out to Ghanaian visa applicants as “shabby and dehumanising”.

According to him, the foreign embassies have resorted to extorting monies from visa applicants.

Touching on other areas of poor treatment of visa applicants, Mr Ablakwa said: “Mr Speaker, it is indeed sad to observe that most of these embassies in question have made no provision whatsoever for a decent and safe waiting area where visa applicants may be hosted as they await their turn during visa interview appointments.

“I have personally made the effort to visit a number of embassies during their interview appointment periods, and what I have observed leaves me rather outraged. You find fellow Ghanaians standing in open places; some left to wait at street shoulders and roundabouts with no one caring about the associated risk posed by motorists, others are left at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather. To these embassies, they couldn’t be bothered if the sun is scorching, if it’s raining or even if there is a category five hurricane – they simply don’t seem to care.”

The lawmaker further noted that thousands of Ghanaians continue to pay “non-refundable sums for the visa services they seek – which are no small amounts” and therefore wondered “why a fraction of the revenue generated by these embassies cannot be used to make basic provision of a waiting area for their visa clients.”

Mr Ablakwa, therefore, called on Parliament to use all available options at its disposal to seek reforms on how embassies treat Ghanaian visa applicants.

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