6 ways Africans are unfairly denied UK visas

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 21 August 2019

A new report has identified the ways in which African UK-visa applicants are unfairly denied by the UK Visa and Immigration Service.

visa, United Kingdom, passport, stamp

Image: Bizhan33.

The visa report was issued by organisations within the All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa (APPG), a part of the Royal African Society which is the UK’s prime liaison organisation for its relations with the continent and its countries.

One of the APPG’s key focus areas for 2019 was to look into the matter of UK-Africa visas to develop a more positive working relationship and outcomes for all involved, especially Africans.

In a recent report it identified systematic issues which result in Africans’ unsuccessful visa applications. These can be summarised and attributed to six main weaknesses in the UK Visas and Immigration Service (UKVI) and application process.

6 specific challenges:

  1. Practical and logistical barriers
  2. Inconsistent and/or careless decision-making
  3. Perceived lack of procedural fairness
  4. Financial discrimination in decision-making
  5. Perceived gender or racial bias
  6. Lack of accountability or a right of appeal

The APPG found that the UKVI is largely underfunded and understaffed, and lacking in quality control. On the continent, this could relate to difficulties accessing visa application offices.

The report also identified inconsistencies and erroneous processes within the UKVI which systematically discriminates against African applicants, whether by prejudice, ignorance or carelessness in the visa offices’s approval process.

Some applicants, for example, are told to provide additional paperwork over and above what is stipulated for the purposes of the application. Others have been refused visas because of assumptions about applicants’ wealth or intent for visiting without substantial reasons, citing undue scrutiny and discrimination.

Weak quality control, tedious or complicated paperwork and application structures result in delays or unnecessary refusals, negatively impact the continent. It affects African professionals’ prospects, by getting in the way of international business meetings, academic conferences or creative projects, not to mention leisure travel engagements.

The APPG for Africa exists to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between Africa and the UK. It works to further understanding within UK parliament of contemporary African and Pan-African matters.

You can find out more by reading the report, ‘Visa problems for African visitors to the UK’.

Earlier this year, writer and TED Fellow Siyanda Mohutsiwa took a satirical jab at this subject matter amid popular hype and rumours that British actor Idris Elba (of Ghanaian/Sierra Leonese descent) could be the next lead in the James Bond film franchise:

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