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Opinions Fri, 15 Sep 2017

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The Union Jack Visa ordeal

We are constrained to wonder whether there is a subtle policy on the part of the British High Commission to fleece as much monies as possible from visa applicants from Ghana.

So many visa applicants have had to part with so much money at the High Commission while processing their applications. Even under such conditions some of these persons have had their applications rejected under flimsy reasons if they are lucky to be told why they were denied entry.

We wish this impression was not playing out in our minds on this newspaper as it is with other Ghanaians who have had to suffer the travails of applying for a British entry visa and to be denied such entry authorization.

Ever since the regime of no-visa for Ghanaians many years ago was replaced with a mandatory requirement of such authorization, an assortment of hurdles have been introduce- the latest string of obstacles being arguably the worst so far.

So much money is demanded of applicants that we cannot help but agree to the suggestion by victims of the visa brutalities as it were, that such monies play critical roles in the running of the British High Commission in Accra regardless of the sense in treading this Shylock path. We can vouch that the former colonial masters charge the highest amount of money for visas inclusive of the attendant charges. Mere enquiry about the status of an application and other services which should ordinarily come at no cost are now debited to the applicant.

Someone quipped rather humorously in reaction that the Brexit blues must have impacted on the spate of money-spinning consular services at the British High Commission. While we are quick to dismiss this, we can add though that something must definitely be amiss at the Commission which needs addressing especially since no adequate explanation has come to the Ghanaian public so far.

We are not unaware about the awesome powers of the Commission in giving or denying visas to applicants. Such powers notwithstanding, the fleecing of monies from applicants in the manner we are witnessing, is a worrying cause for concern.

Some ironic developments have been experienced by visa applicants which add to the conundrum associated with the subject under review.

A consular officer’s assignment is, inter alia, to ascertain the eligibility or otherwise of a visa application based on an assortment of requirements – one being their ability to fend for themselves in the countries they seek entry authorization

When however, as happened to an applicant, after providing the necessary documents such as evidence of the payment of his school fees and related stuff his application is rejected, the decision apart from being beyond our ken, is cause for various questions.

A Ph.D. scholar is considering his options after suffering such reckless denial of a visa. Billed to turn up for the bestowal of his Ph.D. in his university, the visa rejection has messed up his programs. With no reason whatsoever adduced for the decision, his plight has incurred the wrath of many who have been privy to his story.

We cannot teach the High Commission how to manage their visa applications but we can tell them when their immigration policies border on illogicalities and crudeness as currently being experienced in their Accra operations.

Columnist: dailyguideafrica.com

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