Britain says visa grant rate for Malawi visitors high

The British coalition government has a painted a rosy picture on the way its Home Office  has been handling visas for Malawi visitors to UK after mounting pressure from members of parliament who criticised the “disproportionate” application regime.

MP Greatrex: Visa rules for Malawi are a mess

MP Greatrex: Visa rules for Malawi are a mess

MPs in Westminsteraccused the British government of discriminating against visitors from Malawi who want to come to the UK.

They warn a new visa system has created a series of often insurmountable barriers to travel.

But Minister of State (Home Office, Security and Immigration) James Brokenshire told House of Commons that “Of the 2,160 visa applications received from Malawian nationals in 2013, 86% were successful.”

He said  that is “an important figure to highlight” given the criticism about the number of refused applications.

The Minister said the grant rate for Malawi application is higher than it was four years ago.

Tom Greatrex, the Labour MP who represents Blantyre in Scotland, David Livingstone’s birthplace, led a debate on the issue in the Commons and said the current visa rules  – brought in at the end of last year – for impoverished Malawi are a mess.

“It effectively limits access to the UK to Malawi’s wealthiest and most well-connected citizens; aid workers, charity representatives and church delegates are being left behind even when sponsors are covering all of the costs of their visits,” he said.

Malawi applicants are required to fill out a 15-page form, a separate online form, have that document counter-signed by their UK sponsor, send their passport for inspection and pay using a cashless system.

The MP and other critics are particularly critical of the final element, warning it is unrealistic in a country like Malawi.

“Members will be aware of the work of Mary’s Meals, which feeds many people in Malawi and across poorer parts of Africa. The head of programmes for Mary’s Meals in Malawi, which currently feeds 690,000 children, was refused a visa on the grounds that he was likely to abscond, despite letters from the charity’s UK chief operating officer, as well as the country director, providing reassurances about the work that the individual was undertaking,” MP Greatrex told the Commons, according to the Hansard assessed by Nyasa Times.

Greatex who is co-chair of the all-party group on Zambia and Malawi pointed out that many Malawians do not have an internationally recognised credit or bank card.

“I wonder whether the Home Office took that into account when deciding how the system would work. Has any consideration been made of how much industry intermediaries make each year through charging to make electronic transfers? Are there any concerns about the quality of those transactions and the potential for fraud in the visa application process? We are told that the solution is for the UK sponsor to pay the fees, but that rarely works,” he added.

Asked about the issue by former Scottish First Minister Lord McConnell in a House of Lords debate, Baroness Northover denied that poorly paid people were discriminated against.

Minister of State told the Commons that the visa grant rate for Malawi doesn’t suggests a worsening picture, “but it would seem that the grant rate is higher than it was four years ago. The number of applications that we receive from Malawi is comparatively small.”

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Dr Bakha
Guest

It is as good as no visas for malawians rather than let us spend money while you know by yourself no visas for Malawians.I had valid papers for college in UK but still they refused my visa.Bad people

Dr Bakha
Guest

Britain is selfish the way u chased in your country I don’t even plan again of coming to your country.the thing is you don’t need us there.when I a british in Malawi am not happy because of the way I was treated in UK there.just say udont need us to come to your country when you refuse our visa application you should know that the money we spend on the application on us is materiala.all I know is your bad people.

mangochi kabwafu
Guest

As illegal immigrant, you had to go. That applies to any illegal regardless of colour, race or country. Pepa.

south ahlomwe
Guest

british goverment is a most selfish colony . Hadnt been that we were colonised by other countries we could see good roads , good buildings and many more . Malawi wake up and introduce visa to uk people whow want to visit malawi

Nehanda Desta
Guest

Well said, Lord McConnell. God bless Malawi and UK relations 🙂

NDIKUNYENYANYENYA
Guest

Bravo to Greatrex mp for blantyre scotland,the scots should get their independence frm uk ndiye amalawi tizipita ku scotland hassle free

mike Fletcher
Guest

Please dont give them visas these are descendants of cashgateers

Nkambako
Guest

Malawi Embassy Diplomats in the UK, I LOVE YOU! MMMMWWWAAAAAH!

cris henry
Guest

no problem!!!!stay wth ur visas

Sipolo wa Sipolo
Guest

What the sleepy malawi govt should do is to also impose strict requirements for people from UK who want to visit Malawi. In it’s called tit for tat. Make the visa fees for UK nationals as expensive as the is the case with the UK visa for Malawi nationals. Other governments such as South Africa have retaliated to the illogical and punitive visa conditions imposed by the UK government on them. Koma Malawi is too sleepy!

womenslib
Guest

And lose the few tourists we have? Come on think.

mangochi kabwafu
Guest

True womenslib. And besides, what does malawi have in comparison to south africa.

darkhorse
Guest
A bit off-topic, anyone seen the humongous size of application forms for opening an account at the National Bank of Malawi? They surpass UK visa application forms 🙂 . Laugh aside, I have lived in the UK for over a decade and have observed the changes in the economic landscape. If anyone from Malawi is wishing to apply for a Visa for economic reasons, honestly, I would recommend they keep the money and use it for something else. With constant downward spiral of the kwacha against major currencies, it would cost a minimum of 2 mil MK for a short… Read more »
womenslib
Guest

This is so true. People act like the UK is immediate riches. Use your money to start a business.

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