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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26 thoughts on “Britain says visa grant rate for Malawi visitors high”

  1. Dr Bakha says:

    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

  2. Dr Bakha says:

    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.

    1. mangochi kabwafu says:

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

  3. 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

  4. Nehanda Desta says:

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

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

  6. mike Fletcher says:

    Please dont give them visas these are descendants of cashgateers

  7. Nkambako says:

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

  8. cris henry says:

    no problem!!!!stay wth ur visas

  9. Sipolo wa Sipolo says:

    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!

    1. womenslib says:

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

      1. mangochi kabwafu says:

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

  10. darkhorse says:

    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 visit to UK – that’s the bare minimum to get someone through the nasty and unforgiving gates at Heathrow. Why not use that money for a small start-up back home in Malawi? 2 mil isn’t small money and not easy to save in UK. That’s equivalent to nearly £3000. And a job is not guaranteed in UK these days. Ask around especially, most of people in odd jobs, it takes ages/years to save £3000. A lot of Malawians in UK are investing back home in Malawi, that should tell those wishing to come to UK something. You heard it.

    1. womenslib says:

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

  11. unhappy says:

    Uk is a boring country. Don’t bother going there. USA would be better place to visit

    1. jolly says:

      It’s the UK that ticks and not the USA and that’s why everyone want to go to the UK. Full stop! Even asylum seekers want to go to the UK. It is the land of of honey and juice! You can go and stay in the USA if you want but the UK is where everyone want to go.
      Go figure!

  12. wa ku nkhoma says:

    kaya zanu izo ine kwaeni sinkufuna kumadyetsa nthanga dzungu ukulifuna, ukhakhala umphawi ndidauzolowera.

  13. Seasoned Political analyst says:

    You give financial aid to this poor country and then you ask the very citizens of this poor country to pay huge sums of money for entry to the UK (VISA). Does this make any business sense? or UK is also on ZERO AID BUDGET!!!!!! Enlighten.

  14. mbwindi says:

    Visas are grant to Asians who claim to be malawians. Asians leave Pakistan, India, Kashmeer and dubiously obtain malawi citizenship and claim to be Malawians. You may wonder every Pakistan or Indian in Malawi is British too many corrupt Pakistans.

  15. Gongoni says:

    Visa application up to 15 pages for what? In India its only 1 page, most Countries on average is about 3 to 5 pages only! This has to do with politics i suppose!

  16. Gongoni says:

    To hell with you WOMENSLIB, Don’t you know that the UK is supposed to be the second home of Malawians? Ask Kamuzu Banda will tell you! They colonized Malawi, they did not develop Malawi like other Colonial Masters did to other African Countries. Lots of Malawi’s worth under Kamuzu is frozen there in UK and you say Malawi is poor!

    1. womenslib says:

      Be real. Malawians will never receive repatriations for being colonized and plundered…just like you will never see the cashgate money fully returned. It is gone. The UK is not gonna appease you by allowing you to walk willy nilly into their country for no reason. Malawi is your home. Have some damn pride as a Malawian and make your ultimate goal to contribute to your own society without begging. Saying the UK is Malawians second home is a joke.

  17. shuma says:

    The issue is not about success rate, rather it is the catastrophic costs that are associated with the process!

  18. womenslib says:

    If you don’t have the money to pay for a visa with a cashless form of payment…then you don’t have the funds to live and go to school in the UK without government assistance. Why should they pay for you when they have poor people in their country to. Even you wouldn’t allow foreigners to come and live here inMalawi and live on your tax payments for no reason.Go to the UK for legitimate reasons and when you are there behave in a proper manner and don’t spoil the chances for other Malawians getting a visa by overstaying and becoming a criminal or dole fraudster.

    1. Chulu says:

      It looks you don’t have the experience of having gone through the nightmare of applying for a UK Visa so it is better to shut up than write rubbish. UK Visa application has become so expensive and it’s taking too long. It’s gone from bad to worse.

      People are having to avoid UK transit visas just because it’s so cumbersome and it takes too long are having to buy expensive air tickets passing through alternative countries when it was logical to pass through UK

      1. womenslib says:

        Then go somewhere else. The UK is not heaven. It doesn’t even have the best education system if that’s your goal.

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