Remove UK visa ‘shambles’ for Malawi – House of Lords

Members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK Parliament have called for a fit for purpose visa applications to the UK by Malawians and  asked their government to remove  the current “disproportionate”  red tape .

Lord Mcconnell: The visa system is dysfunctional and certainly disproportionate

Lord Mcconnell: The visa system is dysfunctional and certainly disproportionate

According to the House of Lords Hansard accessed by Nyasa Times, Lord Jack McConnell of Glenscorrodale, who is former Scotland First Minister and has visited Malawi many times asked  London to remove “shambles” surrounding the UK visa system for those in Malawi.

“The system is dysfunctional, it is certainly disproportionate and it is, in my view, deeply damaging,” he said.

The peer said: “From the 15-page application form that people have to fill in to the posting of passports to countries far away, which then have to be returned on time but regularly are not, to the proof of wealth that is required as evidence to secure a visa to come to this country, to the cashless system that encourages sharks to charge a fee to use their credit cards, as people pay them cash.”

McConnel said the visa system denies many Malawians from going to the UK “to contribute to debates and discussions” even when their host was a reputable UK or Scottish organisation or a government body.

He asked the British government to “ clear up this chaos and improve the system “in the short-term then investigate how the system could contribute to the good relations between Malawi and the UK.

In Malawi, the UK visa application centre is run by a private company, Teleperformance Ltd, and subscontracted to FedEx.  Malawians have been paying 59 pounds (about K42 000) in addition to the visa application fee which varies according to the type of visa being sought.

Lord David Steel of Aikwood, who has great connection to Malawi, said the process is “a bureaucratic nightmare”  and said the service is “extremely expensive for Malawi citizens and it is very time-consuming.”

He said the idea that visa applications are rejected because people might overstay or give up their careers, families and everything else in Malawi to stay in Britain is  “simply ludicrous.”

Said Lord Steel: “ Another suggestion is that we might change the visa system to insist that sponsors for short-term visits should themselves sign declarations accepting responsibility for the person returning and being liable to a fine if the person does not return. That might cut through a lot of the bureaucracy and establish a visa regime that is fit for purpose.”

Peers debated on what the British government can do to support economic and social development in Malawi, led by McConnell.

Lord McConnell said Malawi has been a “good friend to the UK and to Scotland especially” ever since the days of Dr David Livingstone and his missions in Africa.

He called on the British government to continue to help Malawians “to help themselves”, in the “same spirit” as Dr Livingstone.

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52 thoughts on “Remove UK visa ‘shambles’ for Malawi – House of Lords”

  1. Zaine says:

    Thanks Mr McConnell for raising this conncern on our behalf. all that has been said in this article is very true. I am in the process of filing a visa application for my boss but its boring and time consuming. He is supposed to attend to a conference which happens yearly and he has been attending it. the past two yrs he missed the conferences just because the passport came late. Apanso ndikutha kuona asakupita.

  2. Fathi Alshab says:

    on uk visa, i eas swiddked mwk500000 and wgen i queried the vusa office via fedex mlw no anserr caneforth.furthrr sent a petion to bhc mlw and nevrr got redponse ti dste,i included sll my dupport dovuments and thd detsuld if my spondor.. now therr is a vank account at licsl bank at city centre which receuves this cask and trnsmits to rsa office..sureky this is siding fraud as the sponsir did nit refund the 60pct of the money doent. i was of the view thst the bhc in lilongwe wiulf take up matter on my behalf and you can see the cash lost is equivalent to college fee one student for one dimester period…st chanco.
    hope the bhc can find this petion and cone back wigh satusfactory action..
    i totally agree with fhe house of lords sentiments on visa to uk by mslawians.. swudling resl cash via a lical bank with an open account..where us the fincusl inteligence not cloding this account,

  3. nganja says:

    I agree with 29 ……….Shame on us. These people including Chinese and Brundis are busy purchasing land in Lilongwe using poor Malawians of cashgate like mentality. Courts please deal with them

  4. Dominic Chipwayira says:

    Lord Mconell you are one of the best people like you are very rare to find I salute you .

  5. FOOLDAY says:

    You can keep your Britain and we will keep our Malawi. Infact do not issue visas as there is plenty work in Malawi in the farms. If somebody is able to pay MK720,000 for an air ticket, why then complain of visa fee. Put it at Pound 100 for easy accounting. And also stop all these thieves who steal our money here keeping the loot in your banks. We have one cashgateress Joyce Banda who is now a fugitive from justice and she is always in UK advising the British on how to steal money from their people. The British do not have morals. How do they allow this thief to deliver lecturers to their students. Stupid people.

    1. namandwa says:

      iiiii is it personal?

  6. Make mwana says:

    It’s sad and depressing at times. Poor people are treated unfairly. Many feel marginalised. The system is only for the richest people in Malawi to make it worse it’s the poor who cough everything through the tax system that is oftenly abused by those in power. My advise please ensure Malawians get better education then it will minimise these un fair practices. Open up trade routes so that they can trade fairly.

  7. Drake says:

    I agree with Lord McConnell 1000percent. I at some point in 2012, assisted my GrandMa to access UK Visa.

    The process was rediculous and prohibitive. I sometimes wonder if UK really colonized Malawi because she behaves like we have been at war sometime back. I think the French are better. That’s my view

  8. Black Market says:

    This man is indeed a true friend of Malawians. Please Peter Mutharika, inform the nation when this guy is coming to Malawi, so that I can see and give him a goat for a bank holiday braiii.

  9. chefourpence says:

    mzungu ameneyu ndi wa chilomwe! Amaganiza bwino.

  10. Gerald says:

    Lord Mac Connel should be given an OBE here in Malawi. alemekezedwe coz indeed we are treated like paupers by th british when applying visas to go to Britain.MY gosh.we have businesses and families and careers in Malawi.theres no way I would want to overstay my visa in uk doing wat? kuseta nkhalamba?no. so Lord Mc Connel must be commended.

  11. Happy Edward Makala says:

    It is gratifying to note that Lord McConnell has finally put the message across to the House of Lords regarding the UK visa application. This is what our members in the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP) asked us to do-advocate on their behalf and our sister organization in Scotland-the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) took the issue up with Lord McConnell. I hope things will change for the better.

  12. gilbert ntweya says:

    i dont even wish to study in UK,I hate the British so much,they treated us as if they were not our colonial masters,congrats the MP

  13. Vyapasi says:

    All EU countries have a very dysfunctional Visa processing system. Interestingly their nationals are treated like VIPs when traveling to Malawi simply because we are beggars. Until that imbalance changes the status quo will remain. Meanwhile let us sing praises to Lord Mcconnel. Amen!!

    1. gogo says:

      My daughter invited me to the UK two months ago herself a citizen now. Todate I am scared to go and start the process to obtain a visa. Please may those in authority remove these hurdles remembering that we are still a British Protectorate. We still exist because of you. On paper we are a sovereign country but in reality no. Help us.

  14. Patriot says:

    I would like to salute Lord McConnell for his realistic analysis and love for Malawi. I think Britain is taking Malawi as a colony other than an equal independent state. I have heard of a father who failed to attend his daughter’s wedding because Britain could not offer him a visa,

    Malawi should do receprical diplomacy like Angola where countries discriminating against our people should also have their citizens discriminated against. Britain has benefitted a lot from Malawi and to treat us as third class citizens is very painful indeed!

    It is a shame that they look at us as masters against subordinates! We can do something against it!

  15. Vilakagwentha says:

    Let’s improve on our Passports Nigerians manage to have our passports coz of corrupt Immigration officials it’s a shame.

  16. Mngoni weniweni says:

    Do we real need visas in the first place? Or developments?? These whites are clever idiots!! They have realized that there is a great demand for labours there so Malawi is a good source. Remember, there was a baby boom in the UK sometime back. So those are now aged and need care takers. Shupit zanu agalu inu a ku UK mwavaaaaa??????

  17. ken says:

    thumb up mcconell

  18. Kadakwiza says:

    Now you are talking Lord Mconnel and Lord Steel.

  19. Timothy phiri says:

    Vuto ndife tokha,tizayambaso kupasa ma nigerians,burundians ndi enawo our passports

  20. Tsamba Likagwa says:

    Vuto si mzungu, vuti ndi anyamata aku Immigration kwathu kuno. For a long time the British did not want to issue visa to Malawians. Ku UK Kunali kongopita ngati mmene timachitila pa Juberg kale lija. Koma katangale ndi dyera la Immigration officers athu ndiye nkono we are all being punished. Just imagine Nigerian kumapezeka ndi passpost yaMalawi ku UK. Ndiye olo mukanakhala inu simungakhwimitse chitetezo. Whili the Scottis Minster has a point and wishes us well Koma toyambe kaye kukonza ku Immigration. Otherwise forget it

    1. Counsellor says:


  21. Seasoned Political Analyst says:

    Bravo Lords McConnell and Steel. Of what use is being part of Commonwealth which UK is Head and you deny easy entry to the Commonwealth countries of say your former colonies? Your arguments Lords makes real sense. In any case UK is developed and had data base for those who enter and those who might abused their entry. Why should it be collective punishment?

    In any case these punitive measures especially for Malawi came about by the person who is no more in this world. Why should Malawians be punished by sins committed by this dead ,cruel, and unappreciative person who perhaps NEVER understood the long relationship that exists between Nyasaland Malawi and UK.

    Relax the rules please, please some of us have been trained in UK and at times we want to travel to touch base with our former Universities. We are UK Universities Alumina.

    1. Chikopa says:

      Baba chepetsani moto. Nigerians and other parasites are the ones who placed scones in skinny immigration officers. Basi game yalakwa.

    2. Chemwali chimwene says:

      The visa thing came about because of the corrupt immigration and not Bingu. Lots of Zimbabweans, Nigerians and others obtained a Malawian passport and behaved badly in UK. The immigration is solely to blame. Some Malawians also helped foreigners in europe to ibtain our passports.

  22. Mulhako says:

    Shame on our colonial parents,unlike the French and the Portuguese,very friendly.

  23. "A NATIVE OF NOWHERE" says:

    Good gesture and what a life line. Give that man a bell.

  24. loveness says:


  25. Wakulilongwe says:

    Kazingobwerani ku joni kuno,kulibe visa.

  26. Vyaya says:

    Spot on Mconnel. Going to UK these days for Malawians it’s like applying for visa to go to HEAVEN! It is so expensive, tribalistic( we are treated as animals Malawians who dont know when to return back to their country).

    Can you imagine you British people going through all this if you want to visit Malawi? Would you love it? Why impose such restrictions on us? WHITE PEOPLE I DONT UNDERSTAND YOU HOW RACISTS YOU ARE. You want to visit ever country easily with visa on arrival BUT AN AFRICAN NO NO NO APPLY 3 MONTHS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL AND LATER ON REJECT AFTER SPENDING SO MUCH CASH…


  27. Flames says:

    May God showers his blessings on you Mconell not you M……..

  28. Oppressing The Poor says:

    Thanks for mentioning this. Rip off Britain. Money making at the expense of poor pple.The majority of times the visa is denied. Malawians go to UK not to claim benefits. Its very rare for other African countries to claim unless they are from Somalia,Ethiopia and Nigeria. Malawians study or work abd contribute big time to Osborne purse. Malawians are good citizens and rarely cause trouble. Stop this day light robbery. Do u think if Malawi was better off, pple will even think of going to UK? Help us and relax the conditions for us. We are the warm heart of Africa. Having mentioned that, please all Malawians living in UK illegally come home. Dont tanish the good relationship. Dont worst the border agency time and money just give urselves up. Go and report to the nearest ACB as the spokesman said.

  29. Kangaroo says:

    Why not make it an online process. Australia has implemented this system and it works well. One still needs to pay a visa processing fees though. As it is, the UK system is a deliberate deterrent system so Nyasas are dissuaded from making visa applications. Unfortunately for UK, such is the desperation of Malawians or should I say resolve; they still swim up current on their way to Heathrow airport.

  30. MAbomba says:

    I have no wish to go to UK because of their bureaucracy. I was able to get a US visa within (multiple entry for 10 years!!!) within a day, But loo UK – they only give u one entry within 6 months. Atsikana acke a pa agency ndipo simwano wake. Iwo amakhala ngati kwawo ndi ku UK koma sanapiteko mkamodzi komwe.

  31. MCDON says:

    Great man of the moment Lord Mcconnell,Thanks for a such good fighting spirit to Malawi people.””MULIBWANJI SIR, ZIKOMO KWAMBIRI..TAKUNYADIRANI.

    1. [email protected] says:

      Jack is a Scot. And that’s what we share in common with Scots – love for other people. They are down to earth people. People with a good heart.

      Jack, we salute you.

  32. Martin says:

    Pls they must think about it

  33. womenslib says:

    The man is speaking the truth. However the people who get there shouldn’t embarrass the country by becoming male and female prostitutes and overstaying instead of students and visitors. Go for legitimate reasons and when your time is up come back.

  34. Kwangwagwa says:

    Koma ndani angandipititsek ku Uk nkayankhuleko chizungu tsiku lililonse shaaa!.

  35. Mbanangwa says:

    Oooooh! This is something indeed.

  36. tier 4 says:

    I paid k410 000 and waited for 2 wks to get my student visa for the uk. Its not fair. He really knows what he is talking about

  37. Tengupenya says:

    reciprocity should be not only on the requirements, but also on the quota. that’s is if 20% of Malawian applicants are rejected me must also reject 20% of their nationals who apply. If needed to meet the proportion, we reject administratively qualifying applicants once the quota is not yet met by those who are rejected for not qualifying. inu even wosauka sikuti mu nyumba mwake timangolowa pamene iye tulumuletsa kulowa mwathu.

  38. Tengupenya says:

    visa requirements must be on reciprocal basis; kodi sitinayambebe policy yotero? Tikuchedwa kaya.

  39. critician says:

    We like UK representative in Malawi like Lord McConell. Our relation between Malawi and Britain should see old days of Dr Livingstone. Not the kind of relationship which is now on our midst. Please could the Queenland strt supporting Malawi budget for the sake of cordial relationship that has been there since time in memorial. For sure the fure of Malawi is in the hands of you British. I think if we were colonised by other countries like Portugal surely by Malawi could have been developed. But London is very stingy. With lots of strings over any support. I wish Dr Livistone could have good like today’s Bri but alas. I mean our Chiefs by the in 18th century could not name Malawi by differnt names from UK.

  40. Jack McConnell, you are the man – Malawi’s true friend and Ambassador. I wish you were High Commissioner in Malawi. Let the British come and withdraw Michael Nevin who thinks diplomacy is about playing golf week in week out. A warm hearted and typical British Ambassador should work for the poor, not working to promote the rich as Mr Nevin is doing. Big up Jack McConnell. Thumbs down Michael Nevin!

    1. Bingiza¤ says:

      True friend indeed. Lets give him a goat for a good fight he is fighting for us. Why can’t we go back to Bwana HK Banda’s era, these animals were not there, ee e Visa, ee, what! And what? Cry for the old good days!

  41. Tinawononga tokha by overstaying. Komabe other means could be found to address the situation and not the way things are now. Why should applications be sent to Pretoria when we have a fully operational high commission? The British are against racism but the practice it intrinsically.

  42. Tentacles says:

    That is a gud move… Enafe tikukanika kuputa ku UK kukawona achibale chifukwa cha ma visa…. please do it fast,, i want to go there to attend a graduation ceremony of my brother… pleeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Achakulungwa says:

      Man,simukubwelera graduation koma kuthawa umphawi kumalawiko,takwana kuno,mungayambe kubweretsa Ebola kuno,muzingodya bonyayo kumeneko.

  43. lufina says:

    Bravo the former Scottish first minister. That is the Caledonian effect to Malawi’s relations with the UK

    1. Nellie v says:

      Jack McConnell u r our ambassador. A friend indeed coz u know the history of the. two countries
      Chiefs in Africa received the early missionaries including Chief Kapeni of Blantyre and gave them land to settle. They settled very well invited their families and lived well among the locals. Such was the case every where they went. But today our children get arrested for overstaying in the U.K. For us to visit England it is a nightmare. Thank you very much sir for remembering us. Up north they say it is good you were born.

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