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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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.

Fathi Alshab
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… Read more »

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

Dominic Chipwayira

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

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… Read more »

iiiii is it personal?

Make mwana

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.


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

Black Market

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.


mzungu ameneyu ndi wa chilomwe! Amaganiza bwino.


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.

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