Local agency challenges controversial UK travel visa stats

Posted on 28 August 2019

Move Up, a locally based immigration agency specialising in UK visas, has challenged the recent visa refusal statistics released by the UK’s Home Office.

In a radio interview with John Maytham on Cape Talk earlier this month, Nic Cheeseman – the University of Birmingham’s Professor of Democracy – lamented a particular statistic released by the Home Office, “people from Africa are twice as likely to have their visa applications denied than people from anywhere else in the world”.

The professor particularly lamented the case of academics “from sub-Saharan Africa” whom he felt were failed by the system.


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But Ryan Rennison, managing director of Move Up, says that this statistic is misleading and may be discouraging South Africans who want to apply for UK visas.

“Lumping South Africa into a statistical category with the rest of the nations of Africa is horribly misleading to the public, because it creates a skewed perception that is simply untrue, said Rennison.

“With the exception of Kenya, South Africa actually has the lowest visa refusal rate when compared to the rest of Africa, and by quite a significant margin.”

Move Up’s in-house statistics show that during the ten years they have been operating, only 3% of their visa applications were denied across all UK visa categories. These refusals are then challenged and often reversed.

“The visa refusal rate we’ve experienced is extremely low.”

Rennison admitted that applicants who apply for a UK visa outside of their home country are far more likely to have their application rejected, possibly due to a perceived security alert that is triggered.

Also read:

6 ways Africans are unfairly denied UK visas

Amid concerns arising from the report in question, Jill Wilmans, the CEO of new international financial services company, Secure FX, said that according to her research and experience, UK visa applications from African nationals, when rejected, are refused for legitimate reasons.

“A travel history outside of the UK, however, usually adds momentum to an application,” she said.

“Existing protocols amongst government agencies include the sharing of information related to compliance checks, employment and available funds as they relate to visa management.

Wilmans’ advice is to make use of ‘reputable’ South African visa companies that work to ensure the ‘accuracy of information and quality representation’, which according to her would result in a successful visa application.

For reasons outlined in the initial report, such as access to visa offices, complicated administration processes and the costs involved in visa applications, it may be worth noting that not all Africans in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, will have access to visa application agencies or the additional funds to seek professional consultants’ advice.

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